So who are these guys?


All photos Don Barone


Dateline: Wonderin’ 

“If you want to go to a place you have never been before, you have to ask questions you have never asked before. Don’t feel shy to ask questions about things you don’t know.”
- Israelmore Ayivor

It is déjà vu all over again.

Eleven years ago, almost to the day I was heading south to “cover” (write stories) about a group of people I had never heard of before, in a sport I barely knew, and to be honest, barely even liked.

ESPN Bristol to me while I was somewhere in Virginia, “Just find a guy at their Classic thing and ask him what’s going on.”

Me to ESPN Bristol while I was driving, “What guy, do you have a name?” 

Three hundred miles north of me I hear papers on a desk being shuffled, then a hand goes over the phone as she yells out to the News Desk in general: “Who’s that guy who runs the B.A.S.S. games?”

Then ESPN Bristol comes back on the phone to me with the answer, “His name is Ray Scott something, not sure what his last name is…” 

And that my friends was my first ever real assignment covering this sport, just try and find a guy called Ray Scott Whats-his-name.

I smile now writing that, the truth is sometimes, the truth, in all its weirdness. Just a few minutes ago, while I’m once again packing to head south to once again tell the stories of a bunch of people I’ve never met, I took a moment to scroll all the way back in my photos in the cloud thing to see if I could find the first ever photo I took as an on-assignment B.A.S.S. guy. Believe it or not I did find it and here it is: