Most of you know that my son-in-law, Anthony Gagliardi, fishes professionally on the FLW bass fishing tournament trail. Most of you also know that this was a challenging season for him that had a terrible start. As inspiring as the end of the regular season was, the story wasn’t finished.
This year’s Forest Wood Cup took place this past weekend and I learned a variety of things from it.
- Columbia South Carolina is hot in August.
- It’s never over until the confetti falls from the ceiling.
- David Dudley has a great sense of humor. I suspect that a BBQ with him would be an entertaining afternoon.
- There are a boat load of classy bass anglers on the FLW tour. Forty-five of them were in this tournament.
- Pundits are mostly guessing.
- Whatever the activity, people who excel are passionate about what they do.
- There is a fine line between winning and losing. Every point and every ounce counts.
- Playing poker with Brent Erhler would be a massive mistake.
- Contrary to popular opinion, talent, experience and tenacity catch way more fish than luck.
- Internet comment boards and forums should be ignored.
- Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Although I often use both, typically I’m more comfortable with words than I am with images. This time, not so much. I suppose that I have too many emotions that need to be processed for me to properly put my thoughts into words. So, I’m going to tell the story in a different way.
With a one ounce lead and only one person between him and the championship, this is how it played out.
And then there was this
They say that this is the biggest comeback ever in professional bass fishing. I’m sure that’s true but, for my money, it’s also the biggest comeback ever in any sport. What person, what team, has ever given everyone else in the game a 200 point head start at the beginning of the season and then fought their way back to win it all?
I’ve met many impressive men and women over the years and each of them carved their own personal path to success. Despite that, there are a few characteristics that they all shared. Each of them was focused, detailed, driven and persistent. They all sweated the small stuff and not one of them was content to sit back and let fate decide the outcome. But, after this weekend, I suspect that they all had another common characteristic that I’d never recognized. Like the winner of this year’s Forest Wood Cup, I suspect that they had a backbone poured from pure T-1 steel…strong, tough and almost impossible to break. Who knows, maybe they all also had the heart of a Clemson tiger. At least one of them does.
P.S. You can watch the tournament Sunday, October 5 at 2 P.M. on NBC and again at 8 P.M. on NBC Sports Network. If you watch the crowd shots closely, you might get a glimpse of the elusive JF Owen. He’s wearing a light blue t-shirt and looks a little like a pudgy android with red hair.