It took me a long, long time to figure out Edwin Evers. Twelve years to be exact.
For me there have always been two Edwin Evers. One Edwin I know well, and I consider a very close friend. This is the Edwin I enjoy being around at Bass Pro Shops’ functions, charity events and sport shows. His earnestness and sincerity is genuine when we talk fishing, business and family. I really, really like this Edwin Evers.
And then there is the Edwin Evers that I have to cover during the Bassmaster Elite Series. I will not sugarcoat this – this Edwin really frustrates me. Let’s just say that Elite Series Edwin and I have locked horns a time or two – or more.
Hey, every angler on the Elites Series has their “game-on” mode and their “game-off” mode. But Edwin’s game-on mode is by far the most extreme I have experienced with any angler I have ever covered. During a tournament he is the most intense, keyed up, determined, aggressive, yet elusive and secretive pro I have been around in 12 years of Elites Series coverage.
When I have to talk to Edwin during a tournament for coverage purposes, he is often vague, ambiguous and distant. I always feel like I’m somehow in his way. Yet on Monday morning, when it’s all over, he will give me everything I need and more, and Edwin my friend is back.
For the longest time I just didn’t get this. Other guys like Ike, KVD or Martens didn’t mind telling me everything during a tournament – why not Edwin? Why did he insist on making my job so hard?
For the last eight years I have picked Edwin to win the Classic, but I do it reluctantly: I want my friend Edwin to win, but I don’t want to have to cover competitor Edwin as a leader in the biggest event of his career because I know how difficult it will be.
I was explaining these mixed feelings about Edwin to my wife before I left for the Classic this year. I even pulled up Edwin’s blog on Bassmaster.com titled Classic Lessons Learned posted on Feb. 1, 2016 – a full month before the Classic – where he was already apologizing to the media, his sponsors and his family, saying he would be too focused on the Classic to join them at dinners or get-togethers during the event.
Karin never missed a beat when she responded, “Sounds just like you when you’re in studio at JM.”
Somehow the silence was deafening when she dropped that one on me. Why are they so right sometimes! (That’s a blog for another time.)
And all at once I understood Edwin Evers, the Bassmaster Elite Series competitor and our unusual dynamic at tournaments.
Edwin is 1,000 percent focused on his job; I am laser focused on my job. Neither one of us like distractions when doing our jobs. When I start asking him questions, it distracts and frustrates him. His vague answers frustrate me. Consequently, we lock horns. There is no right or wrong or good or bad about this – it’s just the nature of this business, simple as that.
Having aired all this I’d like to end this blog by saying Edwin Evers is the toughest angler I have ever covered. But it has been worth every minute of it because he has taught me a lot about my job and myself and how to be better at both – if being better at myself even makes sense.
Edwin pushed himself to another level in winning the Classic. In doing so, he pushed me to another level to cover the toughest angler I’ve ever covered in the most difficult tournament there is to cover. As a result we both experienced a Classic we will never forget.
Congrats bro, let’s lock horns again soon!