When not fishing, basketball is my game

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James Overstreet

Look around the Bassmaster Elites and you’re going to discover each guy has his own way to keep his body tuned up for the grueling tournament season.

I suppose the youngsters in the sport don’t have to worry much about it. But the older guys know you have to be physically conditioned to stay atop of your game throughout the grueling summer.

Some guys run a couple of miles a day, lift weights, do cardio or martial arts.

For me, it’s basketball. I love it.

When I’m at home, I try to spend four or five days a week in the gym. I hate running and find cardio machines boring. You’ll never see me on a treadmill.

So I get out on the court with a bunch of young guys and play basketball. Not in a league or anything organized, but just pick-up games.

It’s a good cardio workout and I love the competition.

At 59, I’m obviously the oldest on the floor. In fact, the young guys started calling me “OG” one day and it stuck.

“Shoot it, OG! Shoot it!” they’d holler.

Heck, I didn’t know if it was derogatory or a compliment. Figured maybe it meant “ol’ guy.” I later found it out means “original gangster,” today’s “hip” way of referring to someone who has been around for a while.

Well, I’m not sure about the gangster part, but I’ve certainly been around for a while.

I’ve played since high school and was among the starters at Mansfield High in Missouri. I was what you may call a power forward, and while I certainly wasn’t a prolific scorer, I was a good rebounder and defensive player.

Our coach, Frank Smith, was one of the best basketball coaches in Missouri, and he taught me the value of how hard work helps you achieve things later in life. He was tough; he pushed me to a level I wouldn’t have gotten to without his coaching and it’s carried over into other facets of my life.

My dad was a hard worker on the farm and certainly instilled a disciplined work ethic in me, but Coach Smith inspired me to work hard work in competition and how my efforts can benefit a team.

He taught me to accept my supporting role as a solid defensive player and rebounder.

He used to say, “Clouse, if you want to score more, you’re going to have to get those points off the boards, ‘cause those boys are going to miss more than they make!”

And that’s what I did.

I’ve parlayed that mindset into how we run the company, Phoenix Boats. I’ve told our employees that everyone has a valuable role; some more visible than others, but all roles are important. If each person works hard at his or her role, we can make great things happen as a team.

Work hard and compete — not just at sports or in a business, but, when you think about it, we’re competing in everyday life.

Work hard, do it right and good things will happen.