When the giant of a man behind the cigar turned the ball over in my tiny 6-year-old hands so he could show me just three of the many signatures on the baseball.
After 30 some years in the business of mayhem, you harden to the upside-the-head whacks the universe hands out to humanity — the carnage we call civilization. When it comes to the victims, I tell myself, to escape from the mayhem on my keyboard or that viewed through my lens, that the vic's have had their time, be it long, or not so much, but they have had their time to laugh, to cry, to win, to lose, to be loved or — more importantly — to have loved.
I couldn't drive, I had to park, and all I could do was to listen to the child who had been blown up in the desert, and who told an old disbelieving guy that he was going to fish someday, that he was going to fish tournaments, and that he was going to win. And then, did just that.
I let the phone ring for a moment. It was Terry Baksay. And I knew what the phone call was about. His PET scan. His cancer. His purple sky.
Three weeks removed from having chemo flood his body, I found Terry out on the lake, taking his two state champion youngsters, pre-fishing. It was only about a day after having a PET Scan to see if cancer was still in his body. We are still waiting for that answer.
While covering a Federation Tournament, Don Barone reconnects with his Canadian roots.
Everyone starts out as an 'unknown,' but only a select few have the courage to swing for the fences.
This is not a sport about the fish. The sport is on the other end of the line. The man, or woman, holding that reel, and their families. K-Pink and K2 taught me how to deal with the worst possible loss imaginable with grace and honor. And changed me as a person.
If you are alive, breathing, and can think, all you need to do is to look into the face of a warrior, wounded or not, active or not, and while the flag is high, and the sun is low, and the anthem plays, you will see in the eyes of those who were there this: Freedom hurts.
That's what I was hearing in my head as they announced his weight and that's what I was hearing as I looked through my viewfinder and snapped a picture of Jill out in the crowd jumping up and down screaming and holding a huge handwritten sign that said "Russ Lane."