2013 Elite Series West Point Lake Battle West Point Lake - LaGrange, GA, May 2 - 5, 2013

Georgia On My...GPS

Don Barone

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.

“But the spring was coming on…”

Dateline: A Packin’ the 4Runner Story

I have had Prostate Cancer.

I have had a Brain Tumor.

I have had fractured bones in my knee.

I have had all of this happen to me in one year.

And yet,

I feel I’m the luckiest person on the planet.

I feel this way,

because I have a family who loves me.

A family not only in my house, but a family out on the road.

The Family, Elite.

I have basically spent the last 6 weeks in bed, or when up, stumbling around on crutches with a big heavy brace on my knee, big heavy funk on my soul.

I am where I’m supposed to be.

I am where I’m not supposed to be.

A working stiff not working.

I apologize right now to my wife, to my son, to my neighbors, to the dog, for living through the past 6 weeks of a wild animal caged.

I don’t do confinement well, I was born immobile, going back to being trapped in bed, in a brace, only brings darkness to my soul, my personality.

But then came calls from KVD.  And Skeet.  And Shaw.  And Paul.  And K-Pink.  And K2.  And James Niggemeyer.  And TJ. 

But then came emails from Tripp.  From Jerry McKinnis.  From Dave Mercer. From several DOZEN B.A.S.S. employees and Elite Anglers.

But then came hundred’s of emails, facebook messages, tweets and text messages from….YOU.

And suddenly the hurt wet away.

And suddenly the rage went away.

And suddenly I realized, how lucky I am,

to have a job I love,

and a job who loves me back.

“…as I wondered to myself…”

I wish for you,

to be me.

I wish you no harm, no disease, no tumors, no broken bones, I do wish you though to be knocked on your ass.

I do wish you confinement.

I do wish you some darkness.

Most of all, I do wish you, the hand that reaches out to help you back up.

I do wish you the KIND, I have found in MAN.

“…just how long I had been gone…”

Mankind.

Man…kind.

Man.

Kind.

And yet, we kill tiny children in tiny towns.

And yet, we blow up those standing to watch others run by.

And yet.

Yet.

There is always a hand that reaches in.

Always those who run to, and not away.

Always a shoulder, always a hug, always that hand that helps you up, instead of knocking you down.

“…and saw all my friends were there…”

It took Prostate Cancer.

It took a Brain Tumor.

It took a Fractured Knee.

For me to see the hand that lifts,

and not the one that knocks down.

No matter how much badness and madness you see, please know that there is much more goodness and happiness around us.

Badness, is news, but it is not the norm.  Kindness is.

It is not the coward, but the hero within, that is the norm.

It is not the hands that hold the bomb, that matter, it is the hands that hold you, that count.

And there are more hands filled with love, than filled with hate.

This sport has shown me that, the Elites have shown me that, B.A.S.S. has shown me that,

now it’s my turn,

once again,

to show you that as well.

“…a neon sign was flashing ‘Welcome come on in’…”

I am happier than you can imagine to type this next sentence,

on Friday I leave to once again cover,

The Elites.

The Opens.

The College B.A.S.S.

And I’m on a mission, been rejuvenated, have got the message from the hand that reaches in…to write of the KIND in MAN.

To write of the working stiffs, who only ask for a chance.

To write of the families.

To write of the workers.

And the random acts of kindness that follow us on the road.

And of you.

In the five years of doing this I have realized that I have missed a huge story, maybe the biggest story on the tour…and that story…is you.

It is your hand that reaches in and helps us, helps the sport.

You in the B.A.S.S. nation.

And you in the tournament seats.

It is your story that I have missed, but I promise you that I am fired up, FIRED UP, to tell your story as well, to thank you as well.

So don’t be surprised if you are sitting at an event and I come out and sit next to you with a pen and paper in hand.

So don’t be surprised, if when you least expect it, I show up.

Show up to say thank you.

Thank you for providing me through,

cancer,

tumors,

broken bones,

with a hand that reached in.

And showed me, love wins.

“…it feels so good feeling good again…”

Feeling Good Again

Robert Earl Keen

See you at The Elite Series West Point Battle in LaGrange, GA.

db

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