2014 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Dardanelle Lake Dardanelle - Russellville, AR, May 15 - 18, 2014

Just ask

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.

“Well, who are you…”

Dateline: Lake Dardanelle

Tell me, who are you.

Tell me, about yourself.

Tell me, your story.

Here we go.

What if, we talked to each other more, or maybe, even more importantly, what if we LISTENED to each other more.

At my job interview at ESPN, one of the several hundred people you had to interview with asked me this, “What in your job performance do you do best?”

My answer was one word, “Listen.”

I could tell he wasn’t really listening until I said that. I told him, “People will amaze you if you just get out of the way, and listen to them.”

Somehow, he still hired me.

Knock on any front door in America, and there will be a story held within. Same in France, Spain, Brazil, Australia and any other country on this rock in space.

I have learned this, if you knock, and a human opens the door, if you listen you will be amazed at the stories you hear.

 “…I really wanna know…”

“db, I had to go buy new pants so I could fish this tournament.” And with that, Kenyon Hill broke into a big smile.

I have been seeing Kenyon around the events this year, and every time I saw him it looked like he was losing weight so I asked this, “Hey, Kenyon, what’s up weight wise man?”

And then I listened.

“On January 21 of this year, I got a gastric bypass. My stomach is now smaller than your fist.”

If you know Kenyon only by the photos you have seen of him the past few years, that’s not the real Kenyon.

“I was a wrestler in high school;I wrestled as a senior at 142 pounds.”

Like many of us, Kenyon grew into himself, “Before surgery, I hit a high of 310 pounds.”

After surgery, he’s down to 230, that’s 80 pounds less of Kenyon, “I want to lose another 60 pounds, down to 170; that’s what my doctor wants me to shoot for.”

But don’t be thinking the dude took the easy way out of weight loss (as if any kind of surgery is easy): “You have to work at this; I got a whole thick owner’s manual to my body. There’s a lot more to this than I thought; it’s a complete life change.”

Kenyon had to go through 3 months of prep BEFORE surgery then, “Now I have to watch that I get vitamins and protein, especially protein, I’m not hungry much so I have to be smart in what I eat. I weigh my food at home; when I go out to dinner, my girlfriend and I split the meal between us. It is a whole new way of life.”

And then I asked a real long question: “Why.”

“db, I was about to turn 50 and carrying that much weight was not healthy and could lead to lots of health issues, and I just didn’t want to die young.”

Oh, if you are wondering why he had to buy new pants for this tournament, last year he fished in size 48 waist pants, today he launched in size…38.

“…tell me, who are you…”