Autumn go lightly

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Don Barone

“And all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall.”
Oscar Wilde 

Dateline: Autumn go lightly 

There is a song of a magic dragon and a little boy.

A song about string, sealing wax and autumn mist in the sea by a land called Honahlee.

It says dragons live forever, but not so little boys.

It is really not about dragons or little boys, it is about loss: “One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more.” It is also about the loss of innocence. 

It can also be about change in the autumn mist of the land called B.A.S.S. 

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald 

I have not weighed in on the changes in the fishing world, the launch of a new tournament series and some anglers departing B.A.S.S., because I really don’t have much to say. Not that I don’t care, but because I’m pretty used to turnover in sports. I’ve never left a locker room at the end of one season expecting to walk back into that same locker room at the beginning of the next season and see all the same faces. 

Churn in sports is normal. For all the fans of B.A.S.S., it hasn’t happened often, but it’s not unusual in the sports universe. 

I want to talk to you as a professional sportswriter, pretend for a moment in dragons, and that I’m not affiliated with B.A.S.S., either those who have left or those who have stayed.

Most of my professional life has been spent covering sports, 28 years now roaming sidelines and locker rooms, and in all those years of covering hundreds of events and thousands of athletes I’ve come to see, come to witness that no athlete is bigger than the game. When Tom Brady retires, the New England Patriots will find a new path to winning. 

It is the game that makes those who play it, not the other way around.

It is the success of the game that leads to spinoffs with tweaks and turns, but the game, the original game survives and many times becomes stronger. 

“Autumn's the mellow time.”
William Allingham 

We’ve all had old friends move on, but new people will move in and they too will become friends. 

Looking at the sport from inside I see those who invented the game and have been caretakers of it for the past 50 years, I see a sport that reaches off the playing field to be inclusive of conservation, education and membership around the world.

I see a sport that takes on responsibilities outside the game itself, not something it has to do but something it believes in and needs to do, and it is these actions which will ensure its survival.

No one is bigger than the game, not even those who invented it, for the game belongs to grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers, and ultimately those sons and daughters who were handed it and who will also hand it down.

Faces and jerseys will change, and will do so again I’m sure because that’s normal in sports, but the game as it is played, as its played in its most basic form of most weight wins, is here to stay.

To all those friends who have left, I wish you nothing but the best.

To all those friends who have stayed, some of you owe me money, you know who you are.

To all those new to the Elites in 2019, welcome.

And to all you fans, the game you love, the game you are members of, is fine, is stronger, and is the most anxious to start the new year on a new foot as I’ve ever seen in these past 11 years.

Autumn go lightly.

But spring ’19 will explode, anew.

db

“They say autumn is the most honest season, leaves and flowers fall away to reveal what lies beneath.”
Trudi Makhata

“Striving forward, looking backward.”