Dateline: No song lyrics, no quotes, just me
It cannot be the comments on the bottom half of the Internet that determine how we run this sport of ours.
It cannot be the “reach” of the for, or the against, that determines our path.
It has to be our conscience.
It has to be what’s best for the SPORT, not’s what best for US that matters.
We are the stewards of the game, the game is not ours, it is our children’s.
Fail not the child.
I believe we hurt the sport some this past week on the waters of my hometown, Buffalo, N.Y., and the Niagara River.
Editor’s note: On the second day of the Bassmaster Classic Bracket Jacob Powroznik, fishing against his Elite Series roommate Koby Kreiger, chose to lay down his rod to give his friend a shot at the Classic. You can see fan reaction in this story.
To patch it all up we need to man-up and admit that.
Us owning up will not end the world, us not doing so, may though, end us.
I believe that what Jacob Powroznik did for his friend, Koby Kreiger is massively commendable, honorable and is exactly how you would hope your children would act and do for a friend.
If only it was off the field of play.
Doing so within a game, laying down, is tanking and affects the integrity of the game, and the game and its integrity is more important than those who play it.
Do I think Jacob and Koby should be punished, should be kicked out or suspended? No I don’t.
Let me be clear on that…NO I DON’T.
Let me be clear on this point as well…WE ALL NEED TO LEARN FROM THIS.
This is one of those points in life when name-calling, finger pointing, fiery rhetoric accomplishes nothing, only hurts.
It is simply, a learning experience for us all, those who play the sport, those who run the sport, those who tell you about the sport.
You need to know, all parts of this sport are above board, all parts stand muster, all parts make you proud.
We need to be the example in professional sports where you know your children are safe to watch, safe to wear our jerseys on their young shoulders.
In my heart I believe Jacob and Koby can be the ones to lead us to that goal.
Compassion, is in my eyes, a miracle. We need not have it to survive, in fact we may be better off survival-wise, not having it.
I suppose a rule may be written that says in competition the competitors must compete, sad, but needed I guess.
Throw not overboard the bond of friendship, just leave it outside the lines of the game.
To the children out there, and to those that mother and father them, grandmother or grandfather them, know this, in the final analysis of life, of the questions asked at the pearly gates, Jacob will get a free pass in, love and friendship, and courage to stand up for a friend, yes courage, gets St. Peter punching your ticket.
But not so when on the game clock.
Again in my heart I don’t think this was a malicious act, don’t believe that for a moment, but out of the spotlight, out of the opinion polls, out of the comments on the bottom of the page, needs to be dealt with.
To be honest my first thought when learning of what happened was to push for banning Jacob from the sport for life, maybe Koby too, but as we age in life, as we step back and realize the miracle of life itself, we learn, about learning.
The value of not rushing to judgment, the value of not listening to the crowd, the value of ignoring public opinion or polls, and learning to listen to the tiny voice inside of us, the voice of reason.
The voice inside of me whispers, tolerance.
The voice inside of me whispers, respect.
The voice inside of me whispers, wisdom.
I believe that Jacob and Koby will lead us to a better game, a game of competition AND compassion.
A place for each, and for each a place.
Call not for blood.
Call for learning.
Call for forgiveness.
Call for understanding.
And it is the call we make wherein you place your trust in us.
Please help us and leave the name-calling out of it.
Please help us respect the feelings of all involved.
Please help us with your wisdom and experience.
For we are but the stewards of your game.
Make us accountable, but also make us gentle, with the game you love.