I hope that my extreme respect and just plain love for most of the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers never gets in the way of moving the ball up the court and making good moves for this organization.I've been told that "things will be different now" and "you're going to have a different relationship with the anglers."
Well, I call baloney on that statement. I will absolutely balance friendship and business. In fact, I think that one will not prosper without the other, and the relationship makes B.A.S.S. a monster. Yep, that's what I think and I'm sticking with it.
So with that said, let me write a quick story about one of my favorite Elite anglers. Last week at a very high point in his career I was able to share a quick story with you concerning Shaw Grigsby.
This week it's Davy Hite. No, he didn't win this past week's event at the St. John River, but as far as Davy and his family goes, it was bigger than that. Let me back way up here.
Back when I was doing my television show, The Fishin' Hole, I could get just about anyone to be a guest with me, because No. 1, it was a darn good show, and back then television fishing shows weren't a dime a dozen.
I did the show for 44 years and when I got to seeing the end slipping up on me, I started reaching out to guys who hadn't been with me on the show before. Anglers I really thought a lot of and would be able to say, "Yes, that angler was on the show back in the day."
Davy Hite was one of those fellows and the trip we made together was to the Minnesota boundary waters, canoeing and camping with my old friends, Harry and Mary Lambreth. I knew Davy pretty well before that trip, but if you really want to get close to someone, go spend five days in a canoe with 'em.
Our smallmouth fishing went great, our television work went great, but what I remember most was being under a tent by the fire with a hot cup of coffee listing to Davy tell stories. Unless you've been there, you'd never know that this is one of the funniest men you'll ever meet.One more quick story before I get to the point of this Davy Hite story.
Davy was among the first 3 or 4 anglers I called when the B.A.S.S. deal was officially complete. He was in his car driving somewhere and was not surprised. He knew something was going on and felt like I'd tell him at the right time. He made a couple more comments and then said the thing I remember most. The words that made me realize that friendship and business go hand in hand.
He said, "Alright, guess we need to all roll up our sleeves now."
OK, I've written several 100 words already and I'm finally down to telling you exactly why I'm talking about Mr. Hite.
Well, lots of good things happen to our top level professional bass fisherman, that has nothing to do with winning or losing. You see, Davy has won millions of dollars while competing in B.A.S.S. events. He's even won the Bassmaster Classic. But maybe the highlight of his life happened just recently.
Now Davy and his wife Natalie have two children, Parker and Peyton. Back in the day Davy was one of the finest athletes in the state of South Carolina and apparently those genes where picked up by his sons.
It seems like just yesterday that Parker was the No. 1 quarterback as a junior, then senior at his South Carolina high school. Like Davy, Parker was probably too small for a big-time college, however as a fisherman, he made some noise at Newberry College and was into his second year when his coach eventually thought there was something bigger in Parker's future.
I'm going to make a long story short here, because while doing some research for me, Angie Thompson informed me that this was a bigger story than what I'm writing about and a detailed article should come up on Bassmaster.com in the next day or two.Bottom line, the coach's comment lead to Parker applying to a bigger and better situation. It took endorsements from teachers, guidance counselors, all kinds of tests and finally the OK from South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan. From what I understand it normally takes 3 or 4 months to get done what Parker Hite got done in 4 days.
Parker gave up his first two years of college and will not become the first NFL quarterback to come out of Newberry College. Parker Hite will instead become a plebe at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He will become a man among men and I'll proudly say, "Hey, I went fishing with his dad."
In this case friendship is bigger than business