An Open Letter to Alex Wetherell

His name is, Alex Wetherell. And this Open Letter is for him. And all those like Alex, who are on their way.

“May you build a ladder to the stars…”

Dateline: Boat 39

“The trick is growing up without growing old.”
~Casey Stengel

He sits, confident, on the deck of boat 39.

And he smiles at me, and he laughs with me, and he shakes my hand and gives me hugs.

He is all of 22 years old.

And I have known him since about the moment I stepped into this field of play, known him since he was almost 16.

He is from Connecticut, where I live, he won the Eastern Divisional up there, works in the fishing department at Cabela’s, is a junior at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Marketing, a New England Patriot, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtic fan, watches The Walking Dead and Survivor, and calls himself “a non-denominational born again Christian.”

I have watched him grow up.

And now, I’m watching him stand on the Bassmaster stage.

His name is, Alex Wetherell.

And this Open Letter is for him.

And all those like Alex, who are on their way.

Secrets, I wish I knew.

Back when.

“…may you grow up to be true…”

If I could do it all over again I would change everything, except for the people in my life who I love.

I would be who I want to be, and not try and be who others want me to be.

Secrets, I wish I knew: Define yourself, give no one else that opportunity.

Do not try to be Bryan Kerchal.

Do not try to be Paul Mueller.

Be instead, Alex Wetherell, that is your gift to the world. Give it.

If you try to be someone you’re not, you won’t be anyone at all.

Be you, be all of you.

“…may you always be courageous…”

Secrets, I wish I knew: I would not be afraid to fail.

You are going to fail, do not accept it but expect it.

Remember, only life and death, is life and death, print that on a card and carry it with you.

Failure is only permanent, if we allow it to be. It is okay to fall down, if you get up. My greatest successes have come on the flip side of my greatest failures.

“…may you always do for others…”

Secrets, I wish I knew: Take less, Give more.

I know now that in the end it will not be about what I have done, but what I have helped other people to do.

Not about what we took, Alex, but about what we gave.

Clear the path ahead for others to come along as well.

Never define their path, but make one for them to take.

It is not what you get out of the world my friend, but what you put into it.

Put in goodness.

“…may you have a strong foundation…”

Secrets, I wish, I knew: Believe in miracles.

We know much less, than what we think we know.

We are not as big, as we think we are.

And we are not in control.

I came late to this miracle thing, I’m not sure who I believe creates the miracles, but I know miracles happen.

Believe son, that you stand in heaven, because when we look out into the universe, all we see is hell.

No life.

No water.

Just planets, dead, or on fire.

Until we find another us, we are the luckiest ones in the universe.

To me, that’s a miracle.


“…may your heart always be joyful…”

Secrets, I wish, I knew: Peace

Do not wish to be older, do not wish to be younger, wish to be where you are.

Where you are, is where you are supposed to be. Everywhere you go, there you are.

Enjoy, now.

Embrace, now.

Now, is the only given, tomorrow is never promised.

I wish for you to stand under the stars tonight, and look up.

I wish for you to kiss today the cheeks of mom, dad and sis.

I wish for you to let water run through your hands today, to let the air move your hair, to taste the rain, to be warm in the sun.

I wish to God today, that as I stand here as an old man, that I never wasted a day when I was young.

Don’t you.

Yesterday, is the most valuable thing on earth. Yesterday is the only thing you can’t buy back, and the memories are more valuable than gold.

And finally, it is not about wins and losses.

Not about being rich.

Or having big cars and fancy boats.

Secrets, I wish, I knew: It’s about holding hands.

The secret of life, is to love.

Love every day.

Love someone, every day.

Find what you love.

Find who you love.

For it is love, that will keep you young…

“…may you stay forever young.”
Forever Young

Bob Dylan

“It takes a long time to become young.”
~Pablo Picasso