2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro
Lake Guntersville - Birmingham, AL, Feb 21 - 23, 2014

An open letter to Mr. 150-to-1: Tim Johnston

Don Barone
Classic contender Tim Johnston registers for the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“You might slip…”

Dateline: Got me the blues…

Got Etta James on the spinning vinyl.

Got B.B. King on the MP3.

Got the downstairs Chicago smoke-filled, shot glass, red leather stools, basement bar blues.

Got me the cigar with no match, got me the leaky bottle cap,


Comes the tenor sax, music up full, cat.

“…you might slide…”

Got me the blues, because I met a man today at registration for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic, a dude from Montana, a beautiful state of vistas and people, dude is a Nurse Anesthetist, dude is a B.A.S.S. Nation angler who won the B.A.S.S. Nation West championship.

Dude been picked, odds placed on the dude of 150-to-1 to win the whole shebang, 150-to-1 to hoist the Bassmaster Classic trophy, 150-to-1 to have the name Tim Johnston hang in the rafters.

Got me the blues, because in the 22 years that I have been covering professional sports, I have refused to, and frankly don’t believe in, put odds on human beings.

So when Tim Johnston tells me that he was picked as having 150-to-1 odds to win, I got all spittle from the mouth mad, and pounded my chest right there where I think the heart sits, and I say to him, and I quote, “#@!*!# don’t you listen to that, that statistical #@!^*# doesn’t take into account this…”

And then I coughed some because I may have hit my lungs too hard, but the “this” that I was banging on…was my heart.


You can play around with all your numbers, explain it all away with that new math stuff, put up all the charts and algorithms you got on all your computers, but you ain’t got squat, in my book, because you are missing one variable in that measurement morass you got going,

and that measurement variable you are not accounting for may in fact be the most important variable in the whole dang unfathomable equation:

The Human Spirit.

Show me the numbers on that.

Until you can account for that, you just are doing Voodoo Math.

So this open letter to 150-to1 is actually a letter to all of you, all of US, who have been told, “the odds are against you, son,” or “the odds are against you, honey,” to all of those who wrote us off, who gave us no chance, who thought we were only speed bumps on the road to success, to them I say,

there is magic in every human being whether you can see it or not, and this magic is a spark that you can’t put out, a spark that you can’t measure, a spark oblivious to the odds you place on me, and this spark is called,


Who got them blues now.

“…you might…”