An open letter to College Series anglers

“These are the days by the sparkling river…”

Dateline: Muskegon, Michigan

Young anglers, listen,

listen to the once young,

listen to the once you,

listen to me when I say,

don’t do what I did when I was once young, once you,

listen,

to the truth from someone once new, now old,

don’t do what I did, who now, in the sunset of my life,

realizes I,

missed the sunrise.

To the young anglers of:

Eastern Washington University,

Auburn University at Montgomery,

Young Harris College,

Auburn University,

And all the other colleges of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series

If I could tell you one thing, give you one tiny piece of advice, it would simply be this,

slow down.

Hold tight, the sunrise.

“…these are the days of the endless summer…”

Hold tightly, the now of your young lives.

Rush not tomorrow; you will be old much longer than you will be young.

That is why young is so special.

Grasp the now, grasp today, and there will be no regrets when tomorrow comes.

I regret that throughout my life I have always wanted to be where I was not.  I was always focused on the future, my future and lost sight of the present.

Focus not on what you want to be, focus on what you are and where you are.

Here’s a secret of the old, up here where most of our days are behind us, up here, every day is a gift, every day is to be cherished and lived thoroughly.

Learn that young, and your life will be magical.

Had I learned that young, I would have danced every day with my wife.

Had I learned that young, I would have snuggled every day with my infant children.

Had I learned that young, I would have had a house full of puppies.

Had I learned that young, LIFE would have been my JOB, not the other way around.

As it was.

“…these are the days, the time is now…”

Laugh every day.

Cry every day.

Every day, play the air guitar, help someone, smooch, sneak candy, do something you think you can’t do.

Love.

Be emotional, it is okay to have emotions, those who hide theirs will one day see their mistake, and then it will be to late.

Do unto.

Learn young, life is about others, give, and take only others into your heart.

If life were only about you, you would be the only one here.  You’re not.

Embrace difference.

Stand up against hatred, kneel for peace.

Smile.

But,

never stop,

no matter what age,

playing air guitar.

“…oh your smiling face, your gracious presence…”

My young friends, in life there are only two givens…that life will begin, that life will end.

In between the givens lies the gift.

I know for a fact life is a gift, because if it wasn’t, we would live forever.

We don’t.

The day we are born, our days are numbered. Please, waste not a one.

Welcome to the stage of the Elites.

I guarantee you this; these are the days of your life you will remember forever.

If you embrace the now.

For a moment, step back from competition, and look around; it’s okay to giggle, it’s okay to say thanks as well.

Life is a rat race, only if you start running.

As one of the runners, please listen to me when I say, it’s okay to walk.

Hold tight these days.

Hold tight, every day.

Tomorrows are only wishes.

Now, is all we’ve got.

I wish for you, today never ends.

I wish for you, that the sun only rises.

I wish for you, a perfect life in an imperfect place.

Youth is a gift, unwrap it slowly my young friends.

Take the time these next few days and look around.

Because, much sooner than you think possible, these next few days will be long gone.

Because, much sooner than you think possible, you will be telling tales of today, to your grandchildren.

Because, much sooner than you think possible, there will come one last sunset,

and no more days,

believe, if you believe,

wonder, if you wonder,

but the secret to life, is found in the day you are standing in.

And those standing in it with you that you love.

And those standing in it that you help.

And doing in that day what you love to do, and taking the time to enjoy it, and your embrace of the now.

A secret I found late in life,

but found I did,

when I started dancing,

with those I love,

to the music played,

on my air guitar.

“…these are the days that will last forever

you've got to hold them in your heart.”

“These Are The Days”

Van Morrison

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