Too Many Goodbyes
By Don Barone
"Hold on I'll be back for you it won't be long…"
Maybe it's the year - 2012.
I'll be sixty years old halfway through it.
Maybe it's my body.
I have cancer.
Maybe it's the road miles.
Ten to twelve THOUSAND this year.
Maybe it's the packin'.
Filling another suitcase with clothes, and tears.
Maybe this year…
…will be the last.
"…but for now there's something there that's calling me…"
Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but understand this, to do what I love in life, I have to leave the loves of my life for weeks, for months at a time.
You want to do this sport you better get used to seeing your house, your wife, your family, in the rearview mirror. I will pack up the 4Runner and drive out of my driveway on March 5th, a couple days after our 38th anniversary, and I won't drive back in the driveway until May 6th, two days before my surgery for prostate cancer.
Two months of our life together, gone, never to be regained. Last year, 160 days, alone.
Back when I had all the time in the world, back in 1993 when I started at ESPN, back then for ten or twelve years, I averaged, AVERAGED, 100 days a year - Gone.
I added it up once…ESPN and B.A.S.S…shocked to find out that in my life I have spent over SIX YEARS away from home.
You want to do this, you want to do this sport. How many years away do you have to give up?
"…so take me down that lonesome road…"
A few weeks back I sat in a doctor's office and talked survival rates.
70% to 90% to make it the next ten years.
Makes you think. How many of those years do you want to be someplace else? I don't fear much in life, bring me all the bad guys, all the monsters (both human and otherwise,) but don't bring me waking up dead alone in some hotel room somewhere if my 30% to 10% time comes.
Don't make me go without holding my wife's hand.
Without having my children there.
I want the last word I say, the last word I ever write to be, Love.
Don't have it be a stranger who hears it.
"…so take me down that lonesome road…"
I have not decided yet, if this year is it or not yet. My contract with B.A.S.S. runs out at the end of the year, as does my contract with Wired2Fish.
It would be the perfect time to go.
I love what I do.
I love the people I do it with.
I love being your eyes and ears out there. I love being your "Why," of the sport and the anglers, and not just another "How."
But it might be the year.
It might be the health.
It is certainly what's in the rearview mirror.
"…point me East and let me go…"
That's why this year I want to make it as special for you as I possibly can. Going to try something extraordinary here on BassResource.
Going to let you be my Assignment Editor.
One of you each week while I'm out there following the Elites, one of you, YOU, will pick my story to do for BassResource.
Once I get back from the Bassmaster Classic where my schedule will be finalized, I will post where I will be, and I want to hear from you what story…what story of “WHY”…it is you want me to do for the upcoming week.
And then I will pick, and I will do your story.
You pick the angler, you pick the place, and I'll do your story. You got questions about the "WHY," you send them to me and I'll ask them of the person you picked.
I've been doing this journalism thing now for exactly thirty-one years, and I've learned through the years that journalism is for you, not me.
I'm just the vehicle that gets the information. You are the driver for what kind of information you want.
So I'm handing you the keys.
I approach this job, of journalism, of story telling, with one guiding principle, that I am out here doing this stuff because you can't. You can't leave your job, can't stop being the backbone of America, of your family, and scurry all over the place.
I am only here because I am here in your stead.
Here in your place.
And it is an honor to do so.
So as I face, Next, and, Who Knows, I want to get you as close out here as I can without having to drive to your house and pick you up.
After The Classic I'll post my schedule. Glenn will put it up, and you start commenting on it. Focus on the first Elite tournament in Palatka, Florida, and I'll pick one of your comments as the story I will do there for BassResource.
If this is it for me, I will go out thanking all those who have allowed me to do all the stories of the past thirty-one years.
I will go out honoring you.
As it should be.
"…this suitcase weighs me down with memories."
When The Night Comes
Editor's note: Got an idea for db's story from the Palatka event? Post it below!