Voice of the fan

Welcome to my little slice of the Bassmaster.com website. It’s an honor to do the old look-up, look-down and see that my column is sandwiched in between the likes of KVD, Ike, Brent Chapman and Ken Duke, all of whom have more industry credentials than I do. Rather than looking at that fact as a negative, though, I’m going to try to use it to my (and your) advantage by providing a different perspective.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to win the Classic or the AOY title, and I can’t match Duke’s number-crunching, but even though I’ve written for most of our sport’s major magazines and websites I continue to approach the sport as a fan first, a writer second. In that sense, I hope to give a voice to everyone who’s always wanted to know what really goes on when the cameras are off, because while I’m first and foremost a fan, I have one thing that most B.A.S.S. fans don’t – I’ve been in the boat for the anglers’ successes, their meltdowns and a lot of minutiae that doesn’t make it into Bassmaster or onto the TV show.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to tell tales out of school – I’d probably wind up pelted with tungsten weights or face down in a ditch in Jerry McKinnis’s backyard if I did that – but I can bridge the gap between what you think happened and what really happened. I can also try to put the events into a broader perspective.

When Ray Scott founded B.A.S.S., before many of us were born, he said he wanted to lift our sport “up to public par with golf, bowling and pocket billiards.”

I’d say we reached that milestone, at least with respect to the latter two endeavors.

The next step in the evolution of this sport would be to fully engage in some of the more complicated and sometimes controversial aspects of its existence. Baseball survived the steroids area. Basketball survived a tainted referee. Despite the ongoing concussion issue, football is more popular than ever. There’s no reason we can’t probe the great conflicts and issues that confront our sport and emerge just as strong. If we’re afraid of that, then we’ll never be a true sport, just a form of entertainment.

With that in mind, the folks at B.A.S.S. have given me an opportunity to take on a wide variety of topics. I don’t intend to provoke needlessly, but I’m not going to shy away from anything just because it might make anyone uncomfortable. I hope you’ll join me along the way, offering up topics and support as well as criticism when I deserve it.

No, I won’t tell you the VanDams’ cookie recipe (I don’t have it, and wouldn’t even if I did), but I will share my front row seat no matter how bumpy the ride.

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