Was there ever a point that I knew he was going to win or had a chance to win? When he came off the water and said he had 28-plus pounds, I had a feeling that it might be a possibility. However, from past experience, I have learned not to jump to conclusions or create an excitement that could end in disappointment. It’s kind of a coping mechanism that I have learned so that I don’t create unnecessary feelings for him or me and the boys.
So after about 30 minutes of driving toward Birmingham and the weigh-in, when he asked what I thought about his chances, my answer was, “Do you really want to know?” He looked at me with a surprised look and said, “Yes, what does BASStrakk show?”
When I told him it showed him in first place the whole day, his eyes got a bigger and we both smiled. However, in the back of our minds, there was a hesitation to believe it completely because BASStrakk is an unofficial estimation. We have learned to avoid the “sure of it” thought pattern because the letdown is magnified if it doesn’t work out in the end. Hope was still there, though, in both of our minds; and Hope is what keeps the world going.
For the rest of the ride, we didn’t talk about what ifs. We held on to Hope and the belief that God allowed things to happen for a reason and that He is faithful no matter the outcome.
As I sat in my seat at the weigh-in surrounded by friends and family, I was filled with joy, excitement, anxiousness and an inward peace. I knew there was nothing I could do to change the outcome, and my only option was to believe that God’s timing is perfect and to TRUST. There is one thing that Don Barone said to me during the weigh-in that I will never forget. He said, “You know that whatever the outcome, it doesn’t define who Randy is.”
I knew this already but so many times it doesn’t mean anything until it fits the situation. I knew, at that moment, he was right. This didn’t make the nervousness go away though. Don Barone will attest to this: When Paul Mueller came up on stage to weigh his bag, it was as close to fainting as I have ever come! I had been told he had 26 to 27 pounds, and mathematically that would beat Randy’s weight. When his fish weighed less than expected, there was about a 1,000-pound weight that fell on the floor off my heart! At one point, Don Barone thought he was going to have to get me some medical help.
Finally, when Edwin weighed the final bag of fish, and Randy was declared the winner, 21 years of hard work and belief that it could happen flashed before my eyes and was overshadowed by a peace that surpasses all understanding. I think it is human nature to try to imagine what it would be like to win the Classic and to imagine how it would feel. These imaginings always led me to feelings of nervousness. However, in this instance, it felt like I was in a world by myself looking at it from another location, like a peaceful dream. I actually had to watch videos yesterday to realize what was going on around us. I heard his song, the roar of the crowd, and the voices around me in the videos but during the actual event, it was like silence was surrounding me.
It is now a few days after the win, and I am completely overwhelmed with joy, excitement, gratitude, and so many other things that can’t be described. The one thing I can express is that looking back at all of the past Classics Randy has fished, it wasn’t his time to win. You always hear people say that when it is your time, things will fall into place perfectly. There is no doubt it was his time to win, and God orchestrated every part of it. It is such a blessing and an honor to win a Bassmaster Classic but to win in your home state is even more special than we could have imagined. We are so happy that our King’s Home family could be a part of this special event and hope that through all of it, they will be blessed as much as we have been blessed by them.
We are going to work harder than ever to represent the sport of bass fishing with excellence. We are so humbled and honored to read and hear all of the messages and emails we are receiving from so many friends, family and fishing fans. In fact, Randy said I could quote him on this just this morning: “I am going to need to carry a fanny pack with Kleenexes in it everywhere I go!” If you know him, you know it is accurate. ‘Til next time, take care and SMILE, it can change the world around you!