Mellow, wins

(or the night I saw Michael Jordan wink)

You jump, jump here…”

Dateline: After the weigh-in

Patience will achieve more than force.”
~Edmund Burk

It was close, the game, maybe two, three points top.

Time out, time out,” was yelled in from the sideline, en masse the team came over and huddled around the coach like a bunch of blown soap bubbles all nervous and jittery.

Frantic energy, big swipes of plays drawn on the white board, then erased, the next play thicker as the pressure built, erase, wipe, erase, wipe, thicker, thicker.

Players eyes all over the place, fidgety, arm tics, nervous neck stretches, a knuckle cracking symphony.

Except for one lone player, he sat by himself with a white towel across his legs, I sat across the court and watched his eyes as he scanned the crowd, watched him just sit there, in fact I think I saw his foot tapping to a song only he heard, every once in awhile he would look at the human soap bubbles around the coach and smile.

Suddenly the alarm went off and the time out was over, I watched as he slowly stood up, folded the towel slightly and placed it back on the chair, and then watched as he just looked at the group of jittery players and winked.


Click, three seconds.

Click, two seconds,

Click…and the basketball is launched from basically the expensive seats and slowly it arcs you can almost see the little leather bubbles, the printing on it. I don’t watch the ball I watch the man who launched it, watch him standing there and the slight smile that breaks out just a second or so before the crowd goes crazy.

A ‘tre, three points from no-mans land, the team of nervous soap bubbles wins, and #23 just walks over to his seat and picks up his towel and walks off the court, the man who just won the game was the calmest person in the building.

You want to win relax baby.

You want to win be calm baby.

You want to win, mellow out, know within, you got this, trust yourself and your experience.

But it might not hurt some to wink.

Just saying.

“…you jump, jump there…”

Yesterday, after weigh-in I spent some time in the service yard and the hotel parking lot talking with anglers, no names, it wasn’t their best day, all of them already doing the cut line math.

The best story is never who is in first place, the best stories are of those chasing first, give me middle of the pack any day, give me the wild card team any day, give me the guy in 52nd place on Day 1 any day.

Quotes about what you will do always have more feelings behind it than quotes about what you did.

Did” is history, “Do” is hope, is passion, is why you watch the next day.

Do” is the windup, “Did” is the clubhouse.

This here game of tournament bass fishing at it’s highest level is played at a frantic pace, possibly the most frantic of games I’ve ever covered.

Yep, most sports are played at a frantic pace but every other sport I’ve ever written about had breaks, time outs, benches to sit, quarters and halftimes to regroup.

Ain’t so out here, when we say go they go until basically we say stop several hours later, it is the only sport that I can cover and still get a nap in.

So this is exactly how my parking lot cruise went:

Me: “So how’d you do?”

Them: Either an East to West head shake or, “Not so good…”

Me: (I say nothing here but don’t know how to quote silence as I’m waiting for the sentence I know is coming that I’ve heard several thousand times now)

Them: “…I just ain’t catching them.”

Me: (Now I can quote something since I’m talking) “Oh good, relax.”

At which point I’ve got their attention, full up.

Me: “You know I saw a blue heron today.”

Them: (Their turn to say nothing which I can’t quote either).

“…you jump, jump, everywhere…”

You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.”
Dan Millman

On the day before former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame I sat with him in a empty banquet room as he gave me a one-on-one lesson on how to watch a football game.

During this impromptu schooling I asked him a bunch of questions, this one though I remember more than the others: “How do you know what plays to call?”

The big man just smiled and leaned in to me to whisper so no one else would hear (the room was empty except for the two of us). “The other team calls our plays not me.”

I sat upright and looked at him with the universal “what” sign plastered on my face.

Most times I just take what they give me.”

I told that story to a couple of the parking lot guys, the football analogy I used was this, “You can’t come out with a game plan based on ‘I’m going to run the ball, run, run, run, until they stop me, then run some more.”

The point was, you have to know when to run, and when to throw, your opponent will tell you that, and trust me when I say this, you will not be successful sticking with one approach thinking you can force it to work.

Change-up wins the game, run when you should pass, pass when you should run, if what you are doing out there on the water is not working, stop doing it.

And here’s how you do that…

“…mellow down easy baby…”

The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”
~James Allen


The only way to get to next is through now.

Calm down, take a moment to stop fishing, the more you push things the more frantic it’s going to get and the easier it will be to have everything spin out of control.

I have watched major sporting events where one team starts spinning out of control due to a bad bounce, or turnover and up in some booth some announcer will shout out, “Oh boy Ole MO has…” blah blah blah “ole MOE” being momentum.

Momentum doesn’t turn unless you let it, it ain’t some mysterious dark force in the universe, it’s you.

Be in the moment you are in because that’s the only moment you can be in, focus not on the issue that’s happening in front of you, that spins you downward and out, focus on the answer.

Not what isn’t working, but what will work, wipe out the negative aspects of “not,” allow in the positive aspects of “will.”

When you relax you will see the game plan being given you, sit back, eat a snack, look around at the scenery, see the forest and the trees within it.

Put down what’s not working, it’s ok to do that.

Pick up something new, tie on something new, and when you cast it out there now that you are all settled down, pulled “Ole Moe” from the jaws of defeat, breathe deep and just watch the line go out, the lure arc through the air and maybe, just maybe in that second before it hits that water…



“…you mellow down easy when you really wanna blow your top.”
Mellow Down Easy
Paul Butterfield Blues Band

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”
—James Carroll