2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship Lake Dardanelle - Russellville, AR, Oct 24 - 26, 2013

Tell me, about America

“…I’m so sorry Haaby….”

“…no wait db…wait he died of  heart attack while dancing with his wife at a wedding.”

And then he just sat there smiling at me.

Many times there is a language barrier between the two of us, not this time though.

This time as he sat there smiling I knew exactly what he was telling me,

we all should be lucky enough,

to leave this earth,

while dancing in the arms,

of a loved one.

No translation needed.

“…there's still a lot of love…”

But it was the youngest competitor, 16 year old Juan Ro Chagollan Jr who nailed what Amercia is, to me.

“Juan, tell me, about America.”

“Okay, you, you give opportunity to make dreams.”

I have to focus on the paper in front of me and not look at the kid because if I do I’m afraid I may start crying.

This child has somehow just channeled my Grandfather who would tell me the same thing almost word for word.

Let me tell you why that one sentence went through me like a lightening strike.  I am a long haired-used-to-be-real-fat-sometimes-smelly-old-hippy who has spent over 30 years making a very good living writing.


Not curing anyone, not saving anyone, not teaching anyone, not building anything…just putting words on paper.

And if you look like I do, and if you act like I do, and you get to be able to provide for your family for three decades doing something you love to…and if you don’t think that’s not the American Dream you can kiss the back end of my cargo pants.

In any other country, I would be cleaning the monkey house, not writing about those in it with me.

Juan:  “You can live out what you like here, you can make yourself here.”

Juan:  “You have so many freedoms.”

Juan:  “You are pretty safe here.”

Juan:  “You have the chance to be more complete here.”

All that from a junior high school kid looking into us from his home in Guardalajara, Mexico…took him and his dad two days of straight driving to even get to this event.

Juan tells me, he loves watching Comedy Central, playing tennis and soccer, “Music, ROCK…love The Killers and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

Then once again, he sends a bolt through my heart, probably all of our hearts, “Great opportunity you have here, this sort of stuff, all the world should have.”

“…living in the promiseland…”

We only hear of those who hate us.

We only hear of everything that is wrong.

Yet we walk on the same soil that held Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.  Dreamers all.

All we do is shout, anymore.  Unfortunately the First Amendment mentions nothing about volume, or intelligence.

If we can only pledge our allegiance in private, how does that foster our allegiance to any of the folks here with us.

If we are not one nation under God, who in fact is it that we live under.

I wanted to leave you with this story, it is pretty much the last story I will do this year…one more coming up…Thanksgiving with Elite Angler John Crews and his family in Virginia.

But I wanted these words to be the words that will hang out there for awhile.  If you take away anything from any of the stories I do, please consider taking this, I believe in the American Dream.

I believe in Americans.

And I believe in you who have the soul of America in your hearts, no mater where your feet are standing.

I believe in freedom, and I hope you do too, and I hope you still believe it to be here in America.

The sport of Bass Fishing has spread now to 6 of the 7 continents on this planet,

and as it spreads I hope it brings with it the dream,

that some call the American Dream,

but what I think is really the Universal Dream,

to be who you are,

no matter,

where you are.

“…the prayer of every man is to know how freedom feels.”

Living in the Promise Land

Willie Nelson