Let Go Into...

Let Go Into…

“You've got to dance and sing

and be alive in the mystery…”


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Dateline:  Toyota Bonus Bucks Owners Tourney


And from his hands,

came the lightning.

Between sky and water, came the streak of white.

And it hung there.

In the still night air.

And it challenged the sky, and it challenged the water.

And it hung there.

Floating on mystery.

And it hung there.

Between sky, between water, hung there where lies possibility.

And then it dropped, softly, silently, and the lightning was stilled as the child stood on the bank and quietly held his fishing pole.

Sunset, it was.

And on a far peninsula on Lake Norman stood a shadow.

The shadow of a child.  Silhouetted against the end of the day.  And as I watched through the long lens of my camera, the shadow raised both arms over his head, and let loose the lightning.

And the fishing line lit up as it was cradled in the last rays of the Saturday sun.

It is that lightning in their hands, that bring them here.

It is that mystery in those few seconds between sky and water, that bring anglers to the sea.

In life, it is the mystery, we chase.

Full throttle life, is to hold lightning in your hand.

Between sky.

Between water.

Is us.

Our place.

It is up to you, what you do with it.

Chase the wind.

Chase the water.

Cast lightning.

Let go into,

the mystery.


“…and be joyous and give thanks

and let yourself go…”


80 some teams.

Maybe 160 anglers, could be a couple more, could be a couple less, I’m not much up on my tournament math.

It’s a thank you shindig.

Toyota saying thanks to those anglers out there who bought the Toyota trucks and other vehicles that can tow their boats.

Buy the truck, join the Bonus Bucks program, get an invite.

Full journalistic disclosure…I have owned a bunch of Toyota’s in my life, got four of them right now coming out of my bank account, what with two kids and the wife, and my 4Runner…but I didn’t get on a cramped, late plane and come here for Toyota.

Nor did B.A.S.S. tell or make me come here.

I came here because in a blah, blah, blah talk with some sort of Toyota PR guy I heard two words that, to me, are magic.

Working Stiffs.

Trust me, if you are some sort of Kardashian thing, good for you, but I’m not traveling in any late, crowded plane to talk to you.

God bless you, but leave me alone.

But if you are a plumber.

But if you are a sales dude.

Work with your hands, work on your feet, punch in, punch out, need the overtime to make the payments…I’ll be there.

To shake your hand, to say thank you, and to tell your story, which is the untold story of America.

The America who drives 14 hours…straight…to be here.  The America that leaves in the snowflakes of Ft. Drum in upstate New York, the America who gets here for the tourney at 2am the next day, sleeps 4 hours and then rolls out to practice on the water of Lake Norman.

That America, who wears the flag, and not the bling.

That America that has spent a lifetime protecting the US of A, and who by the way MAKE POSSIBLE THE BLING.

It is an honor to tell your story Sir.

It is an honor to tell your story Ma’am.

It is an honor to tell the story of Lieutenant Colonel (ret) David Converse, here fishing.

It is an honor to tell the story of 1st Sergeant (ret) Dave Campbell, here fishing.

Because David is a 1989 graduate of West Point.

Because Dave has been awarded the Bronze Star.

Let go into,

their story.

David Converse Lt. Col. (ret) 10th Mountain Division on the left, Dave Campbell 1st Sgt (ret) 10th Mountain Division on the right, signing in for the tournament.“…let go into the mystery

let yourself go…”


At 9:30am, on Friday morning, both anglers are handing over some sort of “brief” to the General of the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, way up there in Watertown, NY…about 25 miles south of Canada.

“We hand it in, email it actually, and the people there know we are going to fish this tournament so the General releases us at 11am Friday morning.”

I don’t know who said that quote, I wrote down next to it, Dave…forgetting that I had two Dave’s sitting in front of me…but one of them muttered it.

Both Dave and David are retired from active duty and now work for the Department of The Army as civilian Operations Specialists in Mission Support (or something like that, I tried to write it down but they both talk at the same time).

Both, are many times, combat vets.

Here’s a list of their in country deployments:  Iraq (twice for Dave), Afghanistan (David)…Kuwait…Bosnia…Kosovo…Saudi Arabia…in all over 30 countries with the 10th Mountain.

Dave:  “It was full spectrum operations…you know, secure and protect, we did a bunch of Peacekeeping and Humanitarian work.”

David:  “Sure we took care of the bad guys, but we also cared for the good guys and helped them.”

So the General says they can go…they jump in their truck and head south…from Watertown, NY where there was snow in the air….to Lake Norman…where there wasn’t.

773 miles…14 hours.

Dave (or possibly David) “We get here around 2am Saturday morning.”

David (or possibly Dave)  “So we sleep for four hours and then get up and go fishing.”

“We are both addicted to Bass fishing.”

Both of them are shaking their heads yes.


“…and when you open up your heart…”

Dave/squared belong to the North Country Bass Club and fish tournaments on Oneida Lake, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

700-hundred some miles…14 hours:  “You guys glad you did all that to be here.”


Both are shaking their heads yes.

They will fish today, and hopefully get to weigh-in early, because at 9:30am tomorrow morning they have to be back up at Ft. Drum and briefing the base General once again.

“If we make it by oh-six-hundred we’ll be okay, we have people up there helping us this weekend.  We can do it, it will be close but we will there and do our duty.”

Both are shaking their head yes.

It is the lightning we cast, that guides our way.

Let go into, the mystery of each other.

Between sky, and water, stand we.  You and I, I and the rest of the world.

80 some teams, 160 or so anglers, from all over the place.

Look at their faces, then look in the mirror.

Look into their eyes, where the lightning begins.

I came here, to give some love to a B.A.S.S. sponsor, to do a story, about strangers.  Didn’t know any of these dudes fishing.

80 some teams, 160 or so anglers.

160 or so, mirrors.

Let go into…America.

North, South, East, West.

White, Black and all the shades in between.

Men, and Women.

Let go into…our hearts.

...until he gave it to me.At the end of my interview with the two Dave’s…Dave Campbell…of the Bronze Star…stood up and said this to me:  “I would like to give you this.”

And then he reached up and took off his hat…a hat embroidered with this …an American flag and on the back, “Mountain 8th Army Strong.”

“This…this is for you sir…for what you do, what you write.”

We cast lightning, within each other.

I will never wear the hat, I have not earned that honor, to put that on my head would be to insult the heroes of the 10th Mountain Division.

But I did have both Dave’s sign it and it will proudly go into the case that holds the souvenirs of my sporting life.

While this tournament is sponsored by the makers of trucks, it is not about the trucks, but the people within those trucks.

The plumbers.

The bakers.

The landscapers.

The cops.

The firemen.

And two guys named Dave.

One a West Point graduate.

One a Bronze Star recipient.

80 some teams, 160 or so anglers.

America, brought to you by the lightning that lives within all of us.

Into each other,

let go into…the mystery.

“…you get everything you need.”

The Mystery

Van Morrison




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