2008 Bassmaster Classic Lake Hartwell - Greenville, SC, Feb 22 - 24, 2008

What to Ask, What NOT to ask

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.

ATTENTION all you restaurants on the road, please listen up: I DON'T EAT BUFFALO MEAT...don't care if it's the latest in non-fat-eat-this-and-you-won't-die-so-quick food I don't eat anything that has the slightest chance of RUNNING AWAY.

Why? Because if you are a wild thing, and you are about to become a wild thing dinner, my guess is you've got some pretty scared, or pretty damn mad juices running through you right before you go from a great looking beast to table food, and frankly I don't need any of the scared juices in me, and I come pretty much already packaged with enough peeved-off juices flowing in my ownself thank you.

So just give me food that was growed to be dinner.

And non of that "Free-Range" stuff either because I grew up in the city and my "Free Range" was the parking lot at night behind the Pizza Joint, Furniture Store, Bank and Tony's Pawn Shop, and I tell you I have seen lots of things moving around all free like on that range, and you wouldn't want to be going and eating any of that.

So, put a fence around it, then serve it to me.

I say all this because I'm in a joint here in Greenville, S.C. that makes its own beer (and for some reason names it after hair color, which is quite shocking when you are dinning with K-Pink and he tells me he's ordered a "Blonde" and his much better looking than he is wife Kerry is sitting right next to him and she doesn't seem about to deck him which with K-Pink is always about to happen unless he is a good friend, which to me he is, so I keep my daily thoughts of decking him to a pretty bare minimum) and I just ordered a meat sub made especially from meat-grown-to-be-a-sandwich animal, and across the table from me is Mike Wurm and his wife Mary Kay, who maybe had the best dinner amongst us in that she had this sweet Shrimp or Scallops in Garlic plate and didn't really ask about the animals because we all know that shrimp and scallops may not be fully aware of just what the hell they are in the first place.

But I need to tell you this; Mike Wurm is my Bassmaster Classic Elite Doppelganger (which for those of you who don't know what a doppelganger is, it is not the newest Bassmaster Sponsor, but YOU living in another universe or other space not here, and probably not there either). And this is why, here's our first meet you conversation as best as I can remember since it was a couple nights ago and I've been around K-Pink for 48 hours and you know that can bring about it's own memory issues.

Mike Wurm: "You know I think I'm the oldest one fishing this year in the tournament."

Me: "No S_ _ _. How the, eh, how old are you!"

I've known Mike all of 15-seconds at this point.

Mike Wurm: "56."

Me: "No S _ _ _. Me too." Which I found out later that night to be WRONG as my wife reminded me when I called her and told of the dinner and the Wild Animal menu that I'm only, ONLY, 55 which in my case/body is the new 85.

Then we ate some, Mike with some unspecified animal ribs.

Me: "So Mike, how long you and Mary been married."

Mike Wurm: "35 years this August."

Me: "No S _ _ _. Me too." Which ALSO turned out to be wrong, and frankly when you tell your wife stuff like that, and you mess up the numbers you are MUCH better off messing up numbers dealing with your age/weight/waist size/HER shoe size (always go lower as with her age) than you are on how long you've been married, TRUST ME on that one. But the Wurm's and me and the wife are only about a year apart in being married. I think.

More eating.

Mike Wurm: "We grew up about 100 yards from each other, didn't date then but met in college..."

Me: "No S _ _ _. Me Too." Which was all totally wrong. Me and my wife grew up in the same city but many blocks/incomes away from each other, and we didn't date in High School because she went to one, and I went to another and never came across each other. We met in a bar where we both worked but don't actually want our kids to be aware of that and ask to many questions about it.

So that's how me and Mike Wurm became doppelgangers of each other on some parallel universe lake.


What NOT to ask on Media Day

Don't ask Mike Wurm, or any of the other Classic Anglers I would guess, if they are going to be naked during the interviews.

From the look on Mike's face I knew I had to be a bit more specific.

Me: "Are you in towels, you know I might be shooting this and sometimes if you're not careful you get some naked butts running around in the background."

Mike Wurm: " ." That would be speechless.

Mary Kay, his wife, has got a scallop stopped in mid-eat. The K-Pinks are saying nothing, knowing me like they do.

Mike Wurm: "We don't wear towels."

I'm thinking, DAMMMNNN how am I going to shoot that, "Mike, ah, really, ah, whenever I interview athletes they mainly have towels on..."

Mike Wurm: "We wear clothes, our uniform, it's not a locker room, it's the banquet room at the Hyatt."

My bad.

So it turns out that not only will this be my first Classic, but my first interview with fully clothed athletes. *PR people you might want to add that little fact down there somewhere at the bottom of the media package.

Who knew.

What TO ask during Media Day

We eat some more. I figure Mike Wurm may be having some digestion problems by now.

I was right.

Mike Wurm: "You know what I hate about Media Day." Mike is saying this basically to his plate of ribs but since I'm the only one at the table in the Media, and having been known to ruin a few Media Days, I just assumed he was talking to me.

He was.

Mike Wurm: "I hate the dumb questions."

Wished I'd known that before the towel question, so I'm assuming I prompted this and not some wisecrack from the ribs he's staring at.

Mike Wurm: "They ask, so tell me a funny story about fishing...o...…how would it feel to win the Classic (which if you are in the Media and you ask that you deserve NOT to be in the Media because this is how it feels,'so Media Person how does it feel to win that Emmy/Edward R Murrow/Oscar/People's Choice Award.' GREAT is how all wins feel so stop asking that)."

And then I did something that surprised Mike, and even K-Pink. I asked a question: "Okay Mike, so what DO you want to be asked."

Floored them both…and when I went into the john later I did the fist pump/Rocky on the steps thing because frankly the question even floored me when it came out, and I was the one it came out of.

Surprised myself on that one folks.

And this is what Mike Wurm said, once the shock wore off of course: "I'd like to be asked about what my strategy for the tournament is…I'd like to be asked what I think about this years tournament schedule...I'd like to be asked what I think about the fishery/lake...mainly I'd like to be asked about the strategy."

Next to me K-Pink is shaking his head yes as well.

At the end of this Media Day, as we walked to the elevators together I found out Mike was not asked the questions he would like to be asked, nor was K-Pink for that matter.

Both were asked this, they were asked to name who they thought would win the tournament.

Media People go ask Tom Brady, "So Tom, who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl." Ask NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, "So Tony who do you think is going to win the Daytona 500," but I would advise not standing in front of his car when you do so.

So from now on here is the answer to that question, no matter how you try to frame it. The answer from any of the anglers, any competitor, any athlete, any champion anywhere is this: "Me."

That's why folks they are fishing the Classic, fishing the Elite. Any athlete who doesn't think "ME," never gets to sit in a Media Day Room.

db

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