Ever been first?
Not first in line, not first to the diner table, not first when the light turns green.
Really first. So first that everything you see is new.
Ever slap history upside the head? Or cause the folks who write the rules to do a little re-writing?
Make all those comfortable in their ways atwitter and nervous, like running your nails down the blackboards of the clubs that want you out.
If you’ve done any of that, then you know it’s a beautiful thing.
Ever cause change?
Is something different now — and will always be so — because of you? Will there be a “before-you” and an “after-you”?
If you’re reading this and your butt is tightening, I’m talking to you. If you are reading this and there is a smile on your face, I’m talking about you.
You get your ass kicked being first. When you step out of the line, be prepared to be stepped on. First is not bruise-free.
And yet, history still happens. It still gets made. Then it becomes the norm, no big deal.
Welcome to living in the wake.
If you ever have a chance to make history, will you take a stand? Could you? Would you?
Imagine not doing what’s always BEEN done and instead doing what’s always going to BE done.
And doing so with a fishing pole in your hand.
We are two lakes away from change.
All that stands between the first Women’s Bassmaster Tour angler fishing Bassmaster Classic are two bodies of water.
And some very fat bass.
Throughout the country, the women of BASS are, at this moment, heading to Clarks Hill Lake, near Evans, Ga.
A hundred or so will take to the water and only 20 will make the cut to fish the WBT Championship on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., on Oct. 23.
And only one of them will become the first. There have been other WBT Anglers of the Year, but none like this — this will be Angler of the Forever.
Because, for the first time ever, this WBT Angler of the Year will qualify to fish the 2009 Bassmaster Classic on Louisiana’s Red River down in Shreveport-Bossier City.
First to take the stage WITH the men — not before them, not after them, not on a side stage, not on a different lake, but competing amongst and against them.
At that point, The Classic becomes A Classic.
I’m the son of a mother, the husband of a wife, the father of a daughter … and I’m man enough to say I’m excited about covering WBT-4, and the WBT Championship as a witness to history.
Covering firsts is what this news stuff is supposed to be all about.
But what I’m really looking forward to is down the road, when this is no big deal — when those fishing the event are just the best, the best at what they do — and there is no mention of their sex.
Because one thing is certain: The fish don’t care who’s holding the pole.
And neither should we.
Don Barone is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association. Other stories of his can be found on Amazon.com. For comments or story ideas you can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com