This is one of those weeks where I wish I could be in two places at once — and I'm not talking about being out on the points with a crankbait while I'm also in the backs of creeks with a spinnerbait. It's more than that, and this is one of those weeks where the tournament is not the most important thing for me to be thinking about.
I'm off to a slow start this year, but there's plenty of time to turn things around. Going into the Table Rock tournament, I'm in 86th place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings — well back of where I'd like to be.
I left the St. Johns River a little frustrated. I thought I had made the cut to fish Day 3, but miscalculated. Instead of trying to add to my weight on Day 2, I decided to save some things for the next day and it cost me.
When something like that happens, you have to forget about it and find a way to get excited about the next event. The only thing worse than having a bad tournament or two is letting them adversely affect your performance in the next one ... or two or three or more.
For whatever reason, I've always been able to move on pretty easily. I tend not to get too high after a good tournament or too low after a bad one. If you stay with tournament fishing long enough, you're going to have a lot of highs and lows. You have to measure your success or failure by something other than the standings at the end of the day.
I try to assess my performance against what I found in practice. I'm successful when I maximize what I found, and I've failed when I don't. Some of my best tournaments were when I finished in the middle of the pack but effectively exploited what I learned in practice.
When you're a tournament angler, success is all about making good decisions and fishing clean. If you do that, you've "won."
So Table Rock is one of the two places I want to be this week. The other is back home in Oklahoma.
My daughter Kylee is going to her first prom on Saturday, and I can't be there because I'm fishing.
I'm not missing her prom experience entirely. I got to be a part of the dress shopping, and I know that my wife is going to take a lot of pictures of Kylee and her date all dressed up. But I'd really like to be there.
I'd like to be there when her date comes to pick her up, to give him a handshake that's a little too firm (maybe a lot too firm) and to intimidate him just a little. I'd like to be sharpening a big knife or cleaning a gun when he walks in.
I'd tell him to take great — not good — care of my daughter, to get her back early and that if anything happens to her ... well, you know.
Tomorrow, while the prom is going on, I'll probably text Kylee several times — just to make sure everything's OK. She won't be driving, so she should be able to reply very quickly. And if I'm lucky enough to make the last cut and fish on Sunday, I might be hitting the water tired; I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get Saturday night.
Just so you know, I trust my daughter wholeheartedly. It's just that I was a young guy going to a prom once, and I know how boys think.
Have fun, Kylee.
Your date? Maybe not so much.