2013 Bassmaster Classic Grand Lake O' the Cherokees - Tulsa, OK, Feb 22 - 24, 2013

The lunch pail, wins.

Don Barone
The last photo I took of my father. He took that bandana off my head and put it on his and turned to look at me when I snapped the picture. He died months later. He was 87. This coming Sunday the 10th of February is the 8th anniversary of his passing. He would have liked the fact that I cover the Elites now. He would have liked them. He would have understood them.

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.

The Lunch Pail, Wins

“Pull forty hours for a hundred-dollar bill…”

Dateline:  The Classic Winner Will Be….

The richest part of my life was being,

dirt poor.

Not collecting checks for doing nothing, poor.

I grew up, working man poor.

Not lying around complaining, poor.

I grew up, working man poor.

Not expecting something for nothing, poor.

I grew up, working man poor.

And to Donald L. Barone Sr….

I apologize for being a jerk kid about it.

I apologize to you for my wants,

when you worked your butt off to meet my needs.

To dad,

for the callouses on your hands,

for your tired, swollen feet,

for the lines on your face,

for the gray hair,

because of me, I’m sorry…I love you…I miss you, but most of all…thank you.

For showing me with your life that sacrifice, wins.

That hard work, wins.

And that true life champions,

carry lunch pails.

“I've watched him struggle and I've watched him age

raising a family on a working man's wage…”

I have a few white shirts, and two ties, but I’m only playing dress up because underneath that costume is just a blue collar working stiff.

The legacy of my father, the legacy I’m proud of is that of the working man.

Show up.

Shut up.

Get the work done.

Go home.

Work, open to close.

Work, when you can’t.

Work days one place, nights another, for clothes for your son, for your daughters.  What you’ve got on, will do…and do…and do.

Now listen up all you folks out there from the Take Generation, listen to someone who grew up with the Give Generation…you may think my father was basically just a loser furniture salesman and later lifer at Sears selling refrigerators…I challenge you to match his legacy.

Donald L Barone Sr, grew up a good part of his life in an orphanage in Buffalo, NY.

Google orphanage if you don’t know what that is.

Donald L Barone Sr used to deliver furniture to the university up on the hill, The University Of Buffalo.

Donald L Barone Sr only view of higher education came by looking through the loading dock.

Two decades later, Donald L Barone Jr…graduated Magna Cum Laude from that same university that my father stood on the loading docks.

When I showed him that diploma, he shook my hand, then pulled me in tight and gave me a kiss on my cheek, and whispered in my ear, this:

“Thank you.”

I’m the son of a working man.

I’m the son of a champion.

I know for a fact as I stand here, he who carries the lunch pail, wins.

And that’s who will win the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.

The angler who brings with him, the lunch pail.

“…I grew up on a working man's wage

blood, sweat and tears on every dollar he made…”

Now, please, don’t be looking to see which angler launches with a lunch pail on their deck…it’s not the physical aspect of having a lunch pail,

in their soul, all champions carry with them a lunch pail.

Hard work wins these things.

Grinding it out, getting up, showing up and shutting up, gets you the trophy, talking a bunch gets you the press, but no one puts paper on their shelf, the shelf is there for the iron.

The Bassmaster Classic is won by the hardest worker.

The dude who works every minute of the three days.

The dude who works every drop of lake water of the three days.

The dude who works every fish of the three days.

Wins.

There are no shortcuts for champions.

Luck is for the Max Play button on the Slot Machine.

Championships come not from luck, but from playing to your max.

“…for the little he earned there was so much he gave…”

It was my father, who taught me amazing grace.

Dad was a friendly man who loved to make people laugh, who loved to help others, who himself always spoke of respect, even if in his life not much came his way.

When I became a television reporter here was the only “advice” my father told me, not from his experience as a TV reporter, he had none, but from his experience with amazing grace, here’s dad:

“If I ever hear you ask someone who has lost a loved one how they feel, trust me son, I brought you in to this world and I will take you out.”

He didn’t care what I looked like, how I sounded, or about my “TV presence,” he only cared about how I treated others.

In 30 years of journalism, I have never asked that question, or any question like it…for dad…for amazing grace.

A couple other questions I have never asked, or answered:

In now 21 years of cover professional sports I have never asked an athlete who they think will win whatever event they are competing in.

If they don’t think THEY will win it, no sense asking them ANY questions about the event.

In 21 years of knocking heads with professional athletes and professional sport reporters, I have been asked a bunch of times this question, “db who do you think will win the”…blank blank blank.

I have always shook my head and mumbled something like, “you’ve got me,” about as noncommittal as I could possibly be, and this is why, if you were an athlete/team competing in that event and you heard me tell someone who I thought was going to win the event…and it wasn’t you or your team…why bother talking to me.  If I was you, I wouldn’t even talk to me on that occasion…we are supposed to be unbiased…and if I’m picking ANYONE or ANY TEAM I’m certainly not unbiased.

But,

if you ask me that question now, “db, who do you think will win the upcoming 2013 Bassmaster Classic,” I will give you an answer, and this will be it…

I know for sure who it will be who will win the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, the winner, you can bet money on it, will be…

…the angler who carries the lunch pail…

…in his soul.

Working stiff America taught me that.

My dad SHOWED me that.

And though he is gone now, I was never man enough to tell him this when he whispered in my ear, “Thank You,” no dad….THANK YOU…

…for the lunch pail you handed down.

To me.

“…and I hope I am worthy of a working man's wage.”

Working Man’s Wage

Trace Adkins

See you in a week at the Classic,

db

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