2014 Bass Pro Shops Northern Open #3 presented by Allstate
Lake St. Clair - Detroit, MI, Sep 4 - 6, 2014

db: Stand by me

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.

“When the night has come…”

Dateline: for “Olds”

“…and the land is dark…”

My chicken wings, are cold.

Plain, no sauce, ranch with carrots and celery.

My chicken wings, are cold.

Cold, because in front of me, in all its 60-inch plasma HD surround sound, a man kneels on the ground, and is about to be beheaded.

My chicken wings, are cold.

Cold, because, all around me, on all 8 widescreens, in 1080i, in Dolby stereo, men, women, and children are forced to kneel, then shot in the back of the head and tumble onto other bodies in a mass grave.

My chicken wings,

my soul,

my heart,

are cold.

I’m at dinner with the B.A.S.S. Opens crew, the hard working men and women who almost superhumanly pull this whole shindig together. This, the Bass Pro Shops Northern Open #3 presented by Allstate.

We are basically a 3-wood shot from Detroit on the shores of Lake St. Clair. Red Wings to the south, Maple Leafs to the north. Hallowed sports ground where the footsteps of Gordie Howe, Ty Cobb, Joe Lewis, Night Train Lane and Barry Sanders still echo in the cheap seats.

Pennants of Lions, of Tigers, ring the restaurant, as do symbols of FORD, of CHEVROLET, of GM, a UAW hall is down the street, a stamping plant is within sight of the parking lot.

And yet, in all its HD glory, on TV, human beings are cutting off the heads of other human beings. It is not a special effect.

What’s left of my dinner, most of my dinner, will be untouched.

Yet again in human history, we are committing genocide on each other. I’m looking on Facebook at comments of a photo I took of a swan, a swan that turns out to be a “Mute Swan,” which some people are complaining is an invasive species, to this area.

I’m thinking, really, an invasive species, personally I think the only invasive species on this planet is the species that cuts off the heads of others in the species.

At this point, I’m jealous of the swan.

So, I can’t eat, I’m a little PO’ed, and I’m fixing to try and write 15-hundred words of nice. Trust me, even pharmacology won’t help at this point.

“db…you won’t believe how many cops and firemen are fishing this tournament.”

Across from me at the large table, friend and fellow Upstate New Yorker, Chris Bowes, the Opens Major-Domo, is eating some sort of sandwich and dripping juice on hisself.

“…ton of cops and firemen, maybe you could do something with that, story wise.”

Chris shouts stuff like that to me all the time, sometimes it’s more subdued in an email, most times it’s a shout with a sandwich, or chicken wings in close proximity. 

“Uh-huh,” was my professional 'looking for a story' response.

Chris just smiles, he knows he just got a jab in, a shot to the written-word solar plexus. We know each other well; he doesn’t suggest a story so much as he just sort of hands me a blank sheet of paper with only a story title written on it.

I never walk into a story prepared or with some sort of magical outline. Virgin eyes, ears, are the best way to find the words to put to paper. So when Chris Bowes, so when Trip Weldon, so when an angler, so when Max the guy who bumps the fish, so when Lisa the lady who puts together the stage, so when the fan with the Bassmaster tee-shirt says something, I actually hear what they say since I basically come blank to the assignment.

“You’ll see, db,” Chris says while reaching for a wing.

From behind me, “Hon, would you like a box for those wings.”

“No thanks,”

The wings, are, cold.

“…no I won't be afraid…”