Fishing Versus Golf
I believe that fishing is the most enjoyable sport out there. Aside from a few incidents at the boat ramp, most folks that fish are great people that just want to have a good time. Far better than those Argentina boys that have the need to riot at every soccer game. Or what about those Canadian hockey guys that think beating each other with those crooked sticks is fun. Behavior like that can’t be good for anything expect the dentist and emergency room business. Even in the more passive sports like golf there are those that throw their clubs and shout profanity. But in fishing we’re all about having a good time and making great memories. We like to go to our favorite tackle shop, where they likely know our name and talk about what’s biting and what they’re biting on. We talk to the other guys that are telling even bigger lies than we are before rushing home to take the little lady to Outback Steaks or Texas Roadhouse since it’s Friday night. Then we get up early the next morning and put on our faded fishing shirt, old stained shorts and flip flops and sun-bleached hat. This is not the look those golf guys embrace with their pressed pants or shorts and those silly looking golf shoes. We head to the water before daylight in our pickup, stopping by the all-night convenience store to get a few bags of ice and our favorite beverages. Those golf boys roll out of bed a few hours after we clear the inlet and stroll into their kitchen for a cappuccino. They rush to make that 10:00 am starting time in their new detailed import that probably cost more than my house.
We fish all day with a few bites and even fewer catches before coming in. It was a day of hope and expectation that was dampened by reality, or, it may have been the day that we slayed them. That’s when we fill the cooler with fish, our I-Phone with pictures and our minds with wonderful memories. It’s the stuff that conversations at the neighborhood cookout over a beer and cigars are made of. It’s what fills out Facebook posts on Saturday afternoon and our dreams on Saturday night. We love fishing not for the fish it brings us, but for the memories that it forever burns into our minds. Memories of fishing with our grandfathers and fathers. Memories of fishing with our sons and grandsons. Also, memories of fishing with our friends in the past and present. Fishing is the stage for where many of our life’s greatest and most personal events have occurred. Memories of spending many afternoons fishing with my grandfather. It’s where I caught a giant Bluefin Tuna and where my son asked me how I knew that his mom was the right one, (a question he raised the day before he proposed to his own wife). In my mind, fishing is not a sport but rather a special place that great things happen. Great things that we hold in our memory forever.
I know at least for me, that it’s a place that golfers may never enjoy. You see, I was a golf professional for about 5 years in the 70’s. I was a member of the P.G.A. and played in a number of professional tournaments. But there’s not a single picture of those golf days in my house. No images of me holding one of the trophies I won or walking down the fairway while attempting to qualify for the U.S. Open. Instead, you’ll find the fishing pictures and lots of them. A few years back I gave my golf clubs to my grandson. Not because I wanted him to play the game, but to clean out my garage. A few years later my son called me a ask me to sell the old clubs. They were taking up room in his garage. I picked them up and before I got home my daughter in law call and instructed me to bring them back. She said there was too much sentimental value to get rid of them. So they are back in the corner of the garage, the only reminder of a time past. However, you can believe the fishing rods are neatly stored in a place that provides easy access in my garage and in my son’s garage as well.
I’ve met golf’s Arnold Palmer several years ago while playing in a golf tournament. I was 20 years old. We had a great conversation, but it’s those fishing memories that I cherish the most. It’s about the people I’ve met along the way. I sit on my porch on a warm summer evening talk about my fishing adventures to the point my neighbors are probably tire of hearing it. Old Arnold Palmer is rarely brought up these days. Besides, I’m far more comfortable in wrinkled Columbia shirt than one of those fancy golf shirts. I’m a fisherman heart and have been since I was 6. Golf was just an effort to be cool.