If Clay Dyer can ...

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Thomas Allen

Clay Dyer

So you think you’ve got problems?

You think you’ve got limitations?

You think you’ve got reasons to complain?

Well, then while you’re at this year’s Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, I’d encourage you to go and meet Clay Dyer.

I met him back in 2011 during one of his motivational speaking engagements.

Like most people who follow fishing, I was already familiar with the story of the pro angler who was born without legs and only part of one arm. But I was totally unprepared for his spirit and the effect he can have on yours.

I’ve been around plenty of anglers who had no shortage of confidence. But the combination of confidence, humility and encouragement you get from talking with Dyer is something I’ve never experienced.

Without legs, he’s obviously shorter than most people. But after talking with him for 15 minutes, you’d swear he’d been towering over you.

When he holds out his right arm to shake hands, he extends only a stump with no hand and no normal fingers.

Yet somehow, he seems to manage a strong grip.

It’s that spirit that has fueled him on his unlikely journey to a career as a professional angler.

Despite physical limitations, Dyer got in to tournament fishing when he was 15 years old.

You’d think casting would be impossible for him. But he simply uses his one arm to rest the rod under his chin and then makes the cast just like you or me.

He ties knots with his teeth and drives a bass boat beter than most people I know.

Dyer has fished several major trails, including the Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens — and though he’s yet to win a national event, he’s won tournaments on the local level.

But fishing ability is only half the story with Dyer.

Being around him just makes you feel better.

He has a dry sense of humor and puts you at ease with jokes like “My memory’s about like my finger, it ain’t real long.”

He has great stories, like the one about how he convinced his father to buy him his first expensive fishing rod.

His dad refused at first.

“Then I reminded him how much money he had saved through the years, not having to buy me shoes,” Dyer says.

Then he has the simplest, yet possibly the most profound, motto I’ve ever heard.

He says, “If I can, you can.”

Think about your problems. Think about your limitations. Think about your complaints.

Then think about that.

Here’s a guy who was born with more reason to complain than anyone.

But when he’s not fishing, he’s traveling the country making people like you and me feel better.

Clay will be an honored guest at this year’s Classic. At some point, he’ll walk across the stage with thousands of fans cheering.

At some point, you’ll also have a chance to meet him — and trust me, it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Without legs, he’s obviously shorter than most people. But after talking with him for 15 minutes, you’d swear he’d been towering over you.”