Dick Cepek Tires Bassmaster Elite at Lake Seminole presented by Hardee's
Lake Seminole - Bainbridge, GA, Mar 13 - 16, 2014

Rabbits & bulldogs

Shaw taking off into the fog...spitting at the bulldogDon BaroneShaw taking off into the fog...spitting at the bulldog
Let’s talk.

Never allow anyone else to tell you who you are.

Never.

But never, never ever, tell yourself,

you’re done.

Never be, done.

Never think, done.

Rick Clunn:  “Never allow yourself to accept that all your best moments are in the past.”

But still take the AARP discount.

This here is my 3rd season of rooming with Elite angler Shaw Grigsby and Elite angler and former Classic champ Paul Elias.

I’m near on 62.

Paul is near on 63.

Shaw, near on 58.

I’ve been in the writing/reporting biz for some 30 years now, both Paul and Shaw have been in the tournament fishing biz for as long, if not longer. 

This Monday morning, about 5:30am, we are all sitting around the rental house waiting for the sun to catch up to the new daylight savings thing, and I just happen to ask one question, the question that lead to this story. Here it is:

“After all these years, do you guys still get excited about the new season?”

They do.

Paul:  "Even though I have been doing this near on now close to three decades, I'm still as excited as if this was my first tournament."

Shaw smiles and nods his head yes while saying, “There’s no other place I’d rather be.”

Thing is, none of us should be here.

“…a great big stone wall stands there ahead of me…”

6:10 AM this morning, door opens to Paul’s room, and he comes out singing, NO LIE, singing this:

“I pulled into Nazareth; I was feelin' about half past dead…”

Shaw, sipping coffee, looks at Paul, looks at me and says, "See what I told you, all that there stuff disappears when we hit the water; doing what we love is the best medicine.”

Me: “You know, none of us should actually be here, doing this.”

Both Paul and Shaw have had issues with their hearts; I just got out of the hospital where I almost didn’t make it. But, I can tell you this as a fact: The moment I started writing again was the moment, regardless of what anybody else says, the moment I started writing was the moment my recovery began, the moment I started feeling good once again.

Shaw:  “The secret to life…Never Stop.”

Paul: “We all got so much talent bottled up inside us. Sure, it used to flow freely and now it doesn’t come to the top like it used to; but when it does, all of our experience just comes flowing back.”

As I write that quote down, I look up for a second and just catch Paul and Shaw sitting around the table, both, just smiling.

Knowing.

Shaw: “For years in books and magazines, we have schooled all these young ones out here now competing and fishing against us but…”

And then comes the smile of the Cheshire Cat, the smile that says,

School’s not out.

“…but I've got my pride and I'll move the wall aside…”

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