Bassmaster.com has asked our team of writers and staff to reflect on their favorite moment of 2016. Alan McGuckin is the Director of PR for Dynamic Sponsorships and frequent contributor to bassmaster.com.
My favorite moment from the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series season occurred at sunrise the day after Greg Hackney’s dramatic disqualification at Cayuga, NY.
I jumped into Swindle’s boat as his bride Lulu backed him down the ramp - and instantly our conversation turned to the breaking news of Hackney’s potentially season-wrecking misfortune, that in turn, had unpredictably pushed Swindle to the top of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Points race overnight.
I’m fortunate to work very closely with both Swindle and Hackney - so there was no surprise to Swindle’s response - but the depth of his compassion - and the strong reflection of genuine respect and brotherhood, put a stamp on my heart, when he told me, “I don’t like getting ahead at somebody else’s misfortune. Make a list of 10 guys I feel closest to out here - pros that I respect the most - and Greg Hackney is on that list,” Swindle proudly told me in a soft tone.
“I feel like you could turn Hackney and I loose together in the Talladega National Forest for a month, with nothing but our bows, arrows, and a bucket of cooking grease, and we could survive,” Swindle told me years before, in his more typical hilarious and confident manner.
But on that morning at Cayuga this past June, there was nothing to laugh about as I sat face-to-face with the eventual 2-time AOY Champ, and he whispered in reflection just before the National Anthem, “I just can’t imagine how Hackney is feeling this morning.”
It was a moment so rich with heart, class, and compassion that I knew exactly what I’d write, and had tears in my eyes just thinking about it, as I steered my truck back to the hotel, looking forward to sharing the depth of goodness I had just witnessed with our readers and fans, following such an intimate pre-launch conversation with Gerald.
I never take for granted the chance I get to make a living doing what I love, the respect the world’s top pros grant me, and the many moments of friendship we share - but that moment in particular tops the list for 2016.