My intention this week was to write all about the upcoming tournament and how I feel rejuvenated after a little time off. But Kevin and Kerry Short’s house being damaged has put a real damper on that.
Not everyone you meet when you travel around the country is a kind or a decent person. Maybe that’s why the Short family stands out in my mind. They’re good people, the kind of people you want to call friends and the kind of people you hope will have positive experiences in life.
Kerry is about as nice as anyone can get. Becky’s in a serious funk over their house. I know it’s because she likes and respects Kerry so much.
Kevin is a good person, too, but he goes way beyond that. At his core, he’s what this sport is all about. He doesn’t try to cut corners and he doesn’t push the rules to their limits. He competes like a man, never seeming to resent another angler’s success and always humble in his own.
This latest tragedy brings to mind the age-old religious question that I think comes up in almost every faith: Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t know the answer but I do know that as far as Becky and I are concerned the Short family has had enough.
On a more positive note, I’m really looking forward to fishing Toledo Bend. I spent a lot of my time off fun fishing with my kids. It really helped me get back on track, or at least I think so. I realized I enjoy fishing, and not just from a career perspective.
My plan for practice is a little different from what I usually do. Normally I have a fairly structured schedule. I want to find a couple of primary patters, a couple of backup patterns and then spend the rest of my time looking for fresh water. This week, I’m just going to go fishing and see what happens.
That doesn’t mean I won’t try to develop something for the competition later in the week. What it does mean is that I’m not going out there with any particular thoughts in my mind about what the fish are doing or what they should be doing. I’ll go through a bunch of different lures and see what happens. I’m not even going to think about what the seasonal pattern might be.
OK, maybe I’ll think a little about that but it won’t be as much as usual. I can assure you of that. I need to get away from my poor start this year and that’s about as good a way to do that as I can think of. I’d guess you could call it a modified version of starting over.
As I write that I realize that my slow start means nothing when compared to what Kevin and Kerry Short have been through. So, before I close this one out, I want to ask a favor of all of you who read my column — say a prayer for the Shorts. I mean that. Please. Do it now.