Answer The Bell

"This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way … "


Dateline: Ding …

Enough with the hoopla.

Enough, ALREADY, with the jacket and tie stuff.

Your chicken dinner banquets are over.

All that is left is the headlight lit darkened launch ramp, tomorrow's sunrise, the national anthem and then just this:




"Every endeavor,
I have made - ever -
Is coming into play,
Is here and now - today!"

No Classic is won on soil.

No Classic is won on Media Day.

All the stuff that has happened this week, is The Classic, enjoy, sear it into your memory, let the sun rise tomorrow engulf you, shed tears as the anthem of the country that allows you to do this is sung, wave to your loved ones on the dock, slow all of that down.

Breathe deep the moment.

And then go kick some butt.

Because once the motor roars, once the wake builds, once you kick the throttle back and step onto the front deck and pick up that rod, the moment your line floats in the air, the moment you hear the splash, that moment...

…is The Classic.

"This is the moment,
When all I've done -
All the dreaming,
Scheming and screaming,
Become one …"

Greatness is up for grabs.

You don't become great, you have to seize it.

If you came here to come in second, go home now, save the fuel costs.

Don't kid yourself that this is a three day tournament, it is a moment to moment event.

I talked to Denny Brauer, the dude has already won one of these shebangs, and I ask him, and if you don't believe me ask him yourself, I say, "So here for 2nd place."

And his face turns red, and he starts laughing, because he knows the answer, he knows I know the answer.

Brauer:  "The moment the National Anthem is over it is my job to go out there and catch more fish than anyone else.  The Classic, that's the dock, once you leave the dock, then that, that's fishing, I'm goin' fishing, fishing to win."

Home plate has been tapped, your cleats are all set, your neck is adjusted and you turn your head slightly down the third baseline, and the third base coach starts his gyrations and in one moment of it you get the sign.


Being afraid to whiff, to strike out should never enter your mind.

Brauer:  "If you are going to win, you can not be afraid to finish last."

This is The Classic, it is not a horse race.

… there is no place.

… there is no show.

There is only … WIN.

"This is the moment -
My final test -
Destiny beckoned,
I never reckoned,
Second Best … "

I tried to google this search, "How many NFL rookies made The Super Bowl, lost in it, and never made it back."

I never found an answer, although I'm sure there is one.

I wanted to get some names, and call them and ask one question, "So, you make it in your first year in the league, you all hot shot'ed up, thinking this is no big deal, you a stud…tell me now, when you'll never be back, tell me know how you feel about that moment."

I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that question.

On The Classic registration day, in your packet, no matter how much you shuffle through it, you will find, no return ticket.  Some do make it back, most do not.

A couple tables over from Denny Brauer sat a quiet man, a rookie to the Elites even though he is 40-something years old.

An Alabama guy, a big stick on the lakes around here.  His name, Jamie Horton.

Jamie made The Classic in 2002.

It took him a DECADE to get back.

I sat down, sweet tea in hand, and asked, asked, just this, "So … "

Jamie took it from there, "I'm ready, the more you come up to bat, the more of a chance you have to hit a home run, and now I'm in The Classic, now I'm in the Elites, my time at bat, my time to hit a home run."

All of you are good enough to be in The Classic moment.

Which one of you will make this moment, yours.

Who will own the moment.

Who among you will answer the bell.


"When I look back,
I will always recall,
Moment for moment,
This was the moment,
The greatest moment
Of them all!"

"This Is The Moment"

from the Broadway show

"Jekyll & Hyde"


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