Let’s keep things in perspective

img_9820.jpg

Jim Sexton

It looks like I’m out for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. There may be a super slim chance I could still make it depending upon what happens in the last Open, but I’m not holding my breath.

My thoughts about everything are all over the place. On one end they’re simple. On the other end they’re complicated. 

For sure, I’m disappointed. I don’t usually miss the Classic. I didn’t fish very well this year and, as a result, I’ve managed to disappoint myself, my friends and family as well as my sponsors —all at once. I’m not happy about any of that. You’ll never hear me say that I am.

At the same time, though, it’s not like it’s the end of the world. I’ll have time to spend with our fans promoting products that I believe in and hanging out with everyone. Sure, I’d rather be out there fishing, but it didn’t end up that way so I’ll make the best of what’s available to me. 

That’s the simple part. 

The next thing I want to talk about is the complicated part. I want to say everything right so I’m asking everyone to read what I say and try to understand it. I want to say it the best way I can. 

I’ve received hundreds of emails and text messages offering condolences and telling me how bad the writer feels for me. It’s like a flood. I read all of them. They are gratifying.Everyone likes to be liked, and everyone includes me. At the same time, though, I want to put things into perspective.

Not making the Classic is not the end of life itself, and it doesn’t define me as an angler. My 20-plus year career does that. And so, while I appreciate all the messages I’ve received I’m going to ask everyone to take a second look at things.

I have a good life, a wonderful family and a strong career. This is not going to destroy me. In fact, it’ll work as a motivating force. Think about Gerald Swindle’s performance after he missed a Classic. And what about the year KVD had after he missed one? I hope I’ll be able to respond like they did. If I do, next year will be one heck of a good one around the Iaconelli house.

With all of what I’ve said, I want to tell everyone not to feel sorry for me. Take that time and energy and put it into feeling sorry for — and doing something to help — someone who needs it. There are thousands of people who have lost loved ones as well as everything they own in the hurricanes. And I’m sure everyone has a neighbor who has a sick wife, husband or child and needs a favor, something small to you but big to them. 

Please, understand what I’m trying to say. I know I’m wandering around with this, but it’s really struck a chord with me, and Becky too. We both appreciate all the things that have been sent to me, and said to me. They’re important. They make me feel good. But my situation does not deserve sympathy. There are people out there with real issues. 

Take the time and energy you’d put into feeling bad for me and put it towards someone who really needs it. Send a few dollars to the hurricane victims or help a neighbor who needs it. Take someone to the doctor, buy some groceries for a family that needs them, mow someone’s grass who’s disabled or rake their leaves.

I don’t want to make anyone mad or have them think I’m not grateful, but I had to get this off my chest. It’s just fishin, man.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, mikeiaconelli.com.