“And I'm a thankful man…”
Dateline: Shreveport sunset
Let me explain how I’ve come to do things now that I have somehow managed to survive long enough in the biz to come to that stage called, “the twilight of my career.”
For a quarter of a century, I was a crime reporter/investigative producer, won a bunch of hardware including the New York Festival World Medal for Investigative Journalism.
You just don’t fall into that stuff.
Being an Investigative Reporter/Producer involved incredible amounts of background work. I would say it was 60/40 preparation…60% of my work involved getting ready for the story…getting ready meaning basically knowing all the answers to the questions that I was asking.
Doing your homework.
40% of my gig was what you eventually saw on TV. So the majority of my career you never saw; you never really knew of the majority of my work.
I would work MONTHS on a story and not one word of it would hit air…then one day 7 minutes of it would run on SportsCenter or on Outside The Lines on ESPN.
When I left that life and came here to B.A.S.S., as I was driving South to my first tournament and during a couple days in the minivan, I thought long and hard how I would cover this sport…
…should I do what I have done for most of my career: dive in and learn all the answers before I asked the questions…
What if, since I was absolutely new to the sport, what if I didn’t do any planning, didn’t do any research, came to it,
virgin ears to the stories unfolding before me.
Telling you dudes, a whole new approach for me. What if…
I do not recommend this approach for any of you dudes in Journalism school, trust me. When you are starting out, NOT being prepared is a career crusher but out here in the twilight,
I planned not for what was around me here, just listened.
Became friends with the anglers, knew them as PEOPLE before I knew them as PROFESSIONALS.
And none more so then my friend Denny Brauer.
I know now the dude is probably in the top 5 of the all-time greats, had no idea about that the first time I sat down with him at a table in some restaurant somewhere and said pretty much this to him, “Help me.”
“Help you with what.”
“This…it’s crazy out here. And, dude, no offense but you’re an old guy like me; I just need not craziness.”
Denny chewed on that, and his steak for a moment, then looked at me and just smiled.
And from that moment on, Denny, unknown to many, was the one I went to when I needed calming down, when I needed escape from all that is intense out here. Denny was my rock.
And for the past year or so I have missed him dearly.
When I heard he was fishing this Open, I went down to the cabin that he and his wife, Shirley, are staying in, banged on the door and was thankful to once again be able to sit and just talk.
Talk like friends:
“So, dude, why did you leave the Elites man? I miss you. Why did you split?”
I just look at him with that “cut the crap” look.
We are sitting on the front porch of the cabin. Denny looks at me, then looks out at the setting sun. I’m getting ready for that “twilight” BS when he turns and looks back at me and says,
“A virus attacked my heart; I lost 50% of my heart and lung capacity…”