As it is many years, this here B.A.S.S. Nation gig is my last road trip of the year, and so it is this year, some two-thousand and seventeen years after Christ.
My Hilton statement says I have stayed with them two months and a day, 61 days this year.
I am closing in on three-quarters of a million points with the big H.
Even with being grounded at home for 30 days with a heart monitor strapped to my chest I still managed over 16 weeks on the road, 115 days and growing.
31 percent of my life I’m here and there.
A third of life, on the roads of America chasing those who chase large and small bass.
I’m blessed and thankful for the opportunity given to me, a 65-year-old male in America. I think every day of the several hundred friends and former colleagues out of work for committing the sin of being 50-some years old and experienced, shoved to the side for no other reason than stock ratios, all just voodoo math.
I’m blessed and thankful for the opportunity to see, taste, smell and shake the hands of all those folks who live outside the beltway, any beltway. Shake the hands of those with a trace of grease or earth under their nails, shake the hands of those whose hands shake when writing the mortgage check, the car payment, the college checks.
I’m blessed and thankful for the opportunity to meet the two-jobs-to-make-ends-meet folks who somehow make time to come out and watch us weigh fish. Who somehow save a couple of bucks to buy the stuff of our sponsors, who look to us to escape the meanness that surrounds us, to the lies that surrounds us, to the shouting that surrounds us.
I’m blessed and thankful for the privilege of being let into your lives, many of us seem to take that for granted, as if it is a given that we invade your lives, invade your home, your TV, your radio or laptop instead a privilege. It is your right, not mine to be let in, it is your right to decide who comes in, who stays out. For those of you who let me in accept my thank you and appreciation, for those who don’t let me in, please give me a chance, and if not I will fight for your right of choice.
I believe there to be an almost sacred trust between those of us out here bringing you the stories from the road, and you who read them, and I hope this year I have gained your trust, or remained a trusted source of the stuff that goes on during the twists and turns of the road.
Give this B.A.S.S. Nation Championship gig some of your time even if you don’t know the names of those who compete. Know this, they are just regular joes from all over the planet who come here for the competition, for the camaraderie, for the chance to transcend expectations. In short, I am them, you are them, if you dream, if you hope, tune in this week.
Dreams, hope, friendship, respect for others, respect for the land we stand on here, and the earth that those who come to us bring with them on the soles of their shoes can be found amongst those competing this week on Lake Hartwell.
And ain’t that how it’s supposed to be.