2012 Cabela's B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship
Wheeler Lake - Decatur, AL, Oct 25 - 27, 2012

Pick 3 Day at Fed Nation Championship

Don Barone

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.

“Up every morning just to keep a job…”

Dateline:  Random…

In our society, to the quiet,

comes little.

In our society, to the meek,

comes nothing.

In our society, it is only the Gucci that is heard.

If you know us only from the media, we are nothing but a bunch of bigmouth fancy pants chasing more…



From the outside looking in, we are the vacuum sucking up the planet.

This past year I have been on the road 167 days, been north and south, east and west.  Travelled on 8 lane highways and one lane dirt roads.

Parked in long sweeping curved driveways and rutted front yards.  Ate on linen with silver, and wood picnic tables with plastic forks.

Been served.

Have served.

Walked with the wealthy, sat with the poor.

21,813 miles worth, some in the air, most on the back roads, lakeside.

Let me tell you this, as someone who has worked in the media for over 30 years…we…the media…are drawn to the flames…not the moths.

We are drawn to the loudness, not the whispers.

I have had two, not one, TWO News Directors tell me exactly this, “Normal, is not news.”

Flash, bling, outrageousness, decadence…that, is news.

And here’s why, it is easy to cover, it is the train wreck that all you need to do is take the lens cap off…and wait for.

And baby, it will come.

Another secret, it doesn’t take much work, you just flip on the spotlights…and wait.

And whisper into the mic,

15 minutes of fame,

step on up.

And wait for the stampede.

“…I gotta fight my way through the hustling mob…”

But here is the truth, at least as I have seen it.

We are a nation of ordinary folks who do extraordinary things.

Normal, IS, the news.

Normal, IS, us.

Working stiffs.

And none of this nine-to-five stuff,

12-14 hour days are NORMAL buddy when you have to work two jobs, or work all the overtime you can stay awake for,

and not doing it for the Gucci,

but the Jimmy you are raising.

Give me a freakin’ break…housewives of this or that.


If you are saying, “You Bet,” to a wedding dress that costs more than most working stiffs cars…you don’t need to get married, you need therapy.

Greed is not good, greed, sucks.

Benevolence, is good.

Hard work, is good.

Empathy, is good.

Humility, is best of all.

Listen, to the silence.

Listen, to the meek.

Listen, to the working stiff.

“…sounds of the city pounding in my brain…”

The greatest stories of America are the ones you never hear.  They are the stories you have to search for, like any treasure.  They are hidden.

America, was built on a story.

The story of freedom.

The story of hard work.

Of belief in family.

Of belief in God, and country.

And values.


Old school word, this thing called, Values.

Values…not Valuables.

The real story of America is its people, and their values, hard working Joe’s, just trying to get by, make things better for the kids, for the neighbors, for the community.

Time, to hear their stories.

Time, to listen, to the quiet.

“…while another day goes down the drain…”

And the best way to listen to the quiet….PICK THREE DAY.

Here’s what I did…nothing.

Didn’t ask around as to who in the tournament has the best story.

I believe everybody has a story.

Didn’t ask around as to whom I should interview.

I believe I should talk to everyone.

So I do this…there are 56 boats in the tournament…I borrow a couple of sheets of paper from the unlocked “Business Center” in the hotel, cut the paper up into 56 little squares, then write the numbers 1-56, one number per square, on the paper…dump them all into a Ziploc bag, shake the bag up, take the elevator downstairs to the lobby and hand it to B.A.S.S. employee, Emily Hand, and say this:

“Pick three…pick three pieces of paper out of the bag and tell me the numbers.”

Emily, who knows me and my weirdness, smiles and starts picking.

First slip of paper….#56

Second slip of paper…#48

Third slip of paper…#32.

I take the slips of paper…get in the rental car and drive to the boat yard…get out and walk up and down the line of boats looking at the numbers on the boats…looking for…




When I find the numbers, I stop, get my camera out, get my notebook out and walk up to the boat…and the dude in it.

And when I walk up to the boat, to all three boats, this is what I say to the dude sitting in it, “Hi…I’m db and I believe everyone, EVERYONE has a story…so…dude…tell me your story.”

Know this,

I have no idea who the guy in the boat is,

or what, if any, his story is,

random picked numbers, not names,

because I believe everyone has a story,