We’re here in the sports section every week and it made me think a little about that fact the past few days.
Although fishing does indeed have its professional combatants and its competitions, it mostly is practiced by people who truly are amateurs, at best. Most of the amateur fishermen operate under no type of framework, whatsoever, not the least bit organized like even our high school bass fishermen. We just pick up our gear and hit the water, either solo or with friends. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
That said, we do keep track of the won/loss records and the standings, whether we watch the Bassmasters on TV or check the data when we attend our local fishing club meeting.
How about the records and streaks? Many of the fishing records are as hallowed as those in other sports. Want to start a fight in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Just go ahead and question the validity of Luis Spray’s record muskellunge. Was any American angler more devastated than when George Perry’s revered record bass was matched in weight by a lucky angler from Japan?
Records and streaks mean so many things to many different people. I always have liked streaks that ran over long periods of time, such as Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2.131-consecutive games played streak and the 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass streak that was held by Johnny Unitas since 1960 until it was snapped by New Orleans Saints gunslinger Drew Brees this past Sunday.
I am riding a streak that means something to me, even though it might mean nothing at all to anyone else. I am in the midst of a streak of 435 consecutive weeks of outdoors columns right here in this publication. I know what you are thinking, “Big deal! He hunts and fishes, which basically is like going on vacation for the rest of us and then he sits behind a keyboard and does what? Does he risk life and limb? Give us a break!”
Hey! I won’t argue that fact at all. But no matter what, I make it to the starting gate every week. I always pick up a bat and take my swings no matter what. This week, I am writing this column from my bed in the Intensive Care Unit at my local hospital. It seems that one of my bypasses that was performed on me Feb. 29 conked out on me. Oh well. I guess this is one repair failure I won’t be able to blame on Chinese parts because I supplied the artery myself.
The doctors are telling me that I can live to a very ripe old age if I am able to see the error or my ways and reform my bad habits. I am like the proverbial cat who has been foolishly spending his proverbial nine lives for a long while now. I had a big scare in 2002, before the two episodes this year. If I am not intelligent enough to heed the obvious warnings that the big guy upstairs has been gracious enough to clue me into, I deserve what I give myself, I guess.
What I deserve, though, and what my lovely wife, and darling children, friends and relatives deserve, though, are two different things. They deserve to have this crusty, old guy around for a while longer. Same goes for my readers and radio listeners. From the volume of mail and emails that I get, I am under the impression that you seem to like me for some strange reason. Therefore, I am making a promise to start behaving in a more healthful manner so I can stick around for another 435 columns or so. Thanks for sticking with me.
• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a website for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by e-mail at