Renewed excitement

After this season, I was left with thoughts of reflection, not just on the last tournament but the season as a whole. Giant questions and small demons plagued me as I pushed through the season; and they resulted in a tournament season full of struggle.

Let me back up a bit. Two seasons ago I was into a heavy workout routine, lifting three days a week and walking a mile and a half a day. The saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” So when I started to experience a certain pain in my shoulders, I figured they were just sore from lifting. Eventually, it got to the point I could not lift anymore; so I finally stopped. But the pain did not subside; in fact, it worsened.

At the beginning of last season, the pain tormented me all day long. It never vanished and would wane only slightly before flaring up to the point of tears. Casting and setting the hook became a chore, and sleep, if I could muster an hour or two consecutively, was hard to come by. Cortisone shots did not make a dent, and pain killers left me feeling groggy and did little for the pain. My only option was to fish through the pain until my schedule would allow the time to address my shoulder issues.

The long and short of it is that I dodged a bullet; an MRI revealed AC joint issues, not rotator issues, which means it is an arthroscopic procedure and my recovery time will be about four weeks instead of months. Awesome! I can get both shoulder joints fixed and be casting like a mad man by January. Renewed excitement.

I was also re-negotiating with my title sponsor OSI (Ohio Sealants Inc.); we came to mutual terms and we are back on for 2011-2012. We sat down and created a very aggressive one on one marketing strategy that not only benefits OSI but their customers as well. I am extremely excited to get started with the new promotional schedule because I get to meet and work with OSI’s vendors and their end users. We sat down and looked at what promos worked the best and the economic value of the promotions and incorporated them throughout my tournament schedule. This works well for all of us; since I will be taking them fishing after the tournaments, I can reach customers across the United States and reach each vendor where they live instead of making them travel to another destination. Renewed excitement! Two birds; one stone.

Speaking of shooting birds (ducks) … Before I started fishing as a full time pro, I had a small sponsorship at the semi-pro level. The sponsor was Miceli’s (the cheese people). The short version of this story is I constructed a very large pond with an equally large wetland attached to the back end of this aquatic wonderland. Loaded with big bass and bluegills, this lake is right in the fly zone for some great duck shooting. So last week my friend Brian and I built a double-sided blind – one for deer and the other for duck. The blind is plush and camo’d to the tee. The farm is prime deer and duck country, as well as small game; it truly is an outdoorsman’s paradise. And the best part of all … it is PRIVATE! With the hunting juices flowing, I now struggle with the question: Do I hunt or fish? Steelhead, late season bass, stripers and lake trout or ducks, deer and rabbits. This is a great problem to have.

There’s one more thing to throw into the mix.

My 15-year-old son, Noah, starts varsity football for Cleveland Heights High School. He plays center and tackle. I love going to the games, and the kids on the team are an absolute blast to hang around. Coach Rotsky is a crazed man with one thing on his mind: the players, their grades and getting the kids to college. Did I forget to mention football and winning? Ok, more than one. WINNING! That being said, Heights Tigers were just crowned the Lake Erie League Division One champions, with a record of 9 and 0. Undefeated season!

Renewed excitement! Now, they’re on to the playoffs. Since I love my children and my wife, it will be football over hunting or fishing – at least until the Tigers win, and football is over.

I must thank you for reading this far into the blog, I feel as though this particular blog is very much like those Christmas cards I do not read or like. You know, the cards that explain everything the card sending family has gone through for the entire year and then at the very end says “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” no matter how good or bad the news in the card was. Well … Merry Christmas!

No, just kidding. You will hear from me many more times before then. Hope you had a Happy Halloween!