2014 Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River Delaware River - Philadelphia, PA, Aug 7 - 10, 2014

Open letter to Ike

“…you got so much to do…”

I have watched a professional athlete come into the locker room grab everything from his locker, throw the stuff on the floor, kick it all around, jockstrap and all, then pick up a trash barrel and use it to batter a soda machine.

I have heard an athlete in the showers try and pull the showerhead out of the wall.

I have watched screaming, I have watched pushing matches, chalk smashed up against chalkboards, garbage cans kicked, and on one occasion, a window broken.

All behind closed locker room doors.

“Michael, you don’t have a door to close, you’re on the water for all to see, you dock for all to see, you go up on stage for all to see, you have no alone time, you are always in the public…”

I know the look on his face, I’ve got his attention.

“The door you have to close needs to be inside of you.”

Seigo Saito
I reach out and put my hand on him, “I’m not freaked with your meltdowns because I have seen some of the best athletes on the planet have the same kind of meltdowns, the public who is against you never gets to see the other athletes do it because they are not allowed inside the locker room.”

“In society opinions are made all the time, made without knowing all the facts, and nobody is more opinionated then sports fans…sport radio isn’t all over this country because no one has nothing to say.”

I don’t condone, outbursts, but I understand, outbursts.

You only begin to understand top, highly skilled athletes, when you put down the note pad. 

Whenever I really wanted to understand the athlete, I would tell them exactly what I told Michael, “Hey man, lets take a walk.”

And when Michael and I walked around his yard, I told him, exactly this, “Dude, Vienna waits for you.”

And he looked at me as if I was having some ‘60’s Bourbon fueled flashback.

“…slow down, you're doing fine…”

Vienna, waits for you.

Your future is out there, let it come to you.

My friend, hold time gently.  Yesterday, won’t come back.

Or last week, or last Christmas, or even…this morning.

Slow down.

I’ve learned, the hard way, that the faster I go, the slower I get to be where I want to be.  Frustration is the result of the lack of proper time management.

Slow down.

When I began to savor every moment, more and more moments went my way. 

I can tell you the score didn’t change when the trash can smashed the coke machine, when the shower head was disconnected, when the window was broken, the outcome remained the same.

When you light the match, the only one who gets burned, is you.

Cradle this week my friend, cradle this week.

Slow down.

Peace, and greatness, are linked.  Peace, overcomes obstacles.  Confidence trumps frustration.

But, don’t every stop being Michael.  Take it from a fellow Jersey guy…Comedian Jon Stewart:

Michael, in 2009, the Kennedy Center honored another Jersey guy…Bruce Springsteen...and during the ceremony, Jon Stewart on stage said this about The Boss, “Whenever I see Bruce Springsteen do anything, he empties the tank, every time, and the beautiful thing about the man is he empties the tank for his family, for his art…”

I love it when you empty the tank, when you leave everything out on your field of play, that’s the stuff of legends, the stuff of champions.

Empty the tank man,

but please,

just don’t do it near an open flame.

Put the match away.

“…you can't be everything you wanna be before your time.”


Billy Joel