Here’s an Aaron you might not know; quiet does not mean lazy.
“I spend 140 hours a week working on fishing.”
Aaron will never approximate anything. It wasn’t “around 140 hours.” It wasn’t, “I don’t know, db, maybe something like 140 hours…”
No, it was 140.
And I bet if I put a watch on it…it would be 140, exact.
“I sleep 4 hours a day; last year at the tournament where I won AOY, I slept 4 hours in four days.”
His wife Leslie breaks in and tells me, “db, I tell him he needs more sleep; it isn’t healthy and…”
Aaron breaks in, “…and I tell her that preparing for a tournament is more important than sleeping.”
Aaron takes to the water usually, “at 6:15 in the morning,” and gets off the water, “at 8:30 at night…I used to practice in the dark sometimes until midnight but they don’t let me do that anymore.”
I know these guys very well and Aaron is possibly the hardest working one of them all.
“…for outcasts and rebels…”
We are sitting in the Marten’s motorhome. It is raining heavy outside; his kids are playing video games, as is his nephew. Aaron and I are sitting in the dinette; Leslie his wife is on the couch right behind Aaron’s back.
At times, she reaches out and touches his shoulder.
At other times, she looks at me and smiles, the same smiles I have as Aaron tells me something, in Aaron’s way.
I asked him this, “How many interviews have you done so far this season.”
Aaron told me, “None, but don’t write that; I don’t want you to get fired.”
I then said, “How come no interviews?”
“I don’t think they like me, db.”
And, in that moment, I was once again the kid in the last desk, the man with the pinned on photo that no one knew.
Leslie could only look down at the floor. I faked writing something down in my notebook. Aaron just sat there and smiled.
I left soon afterwards, drove the 20 miles back to where I’m staying with Shaw Grigsby and Paul Elias.
When I got back here and told the boys where I was and what I was doing, Paul looked at me and said, “Yeah, he’s in third place and he could very easily win it again.”
A whole bunch of other Elite anglers who knew I was doing the story told me the same.
But in the half hour drive back here, all I could think of was the last quote I wrote down, “I don’t think they like me, db.”
And whether it’s true about the liking or not, the fact that he even thinks it, the fact that ANYONE even thinks it means that we in the media have failed, miserably.
From whence I came, I have forgotten.
Shame on me.
Aaron, my friend, I told you, “…don’t ever change, and I meant it, for you, but more importantly, for me.
Because your not changing will help me…change.
Help, I hope all of us.
Help us listen to the whispers.
Help us bring light to the shadows.
Help us find those, not looking for us.
We will never know each other if all we read, all we hear, are snippets of lives.
The miracle of the stories of life should not be abridged. You, the reader, you, the user of the stuff of the media, should demand it, should embrace the full story.
And we the media should know one simple fact: that every crankbait, every topwater bait, every frog, every drop shot used, that story, that question, that answer, begins,
in a child’s tacklebox.
“…or anyone who just dares to be different.”