Where do...Where do... Don't bring the child to the sport, bring the sport to the child...and they will never let it go.
By Don Barone
"I know we've come a long way…"
The future of BassAnything will not be found on a stage. The future of BassAnything will not be found in speeding boats. The future of BassAnything will not be found in live wells.
The future of BassAnything will be found holding your hand. The future of BassAnything can be found right now sleeping under pink princess sheets, under blue Toy Story blankets.
The future of BassAnything calls out…Mommie…Daddy. The future of BassAnything weighs less than the Bass sacks being brought in.
But I wonder, worry, where will the future of BassAnything get to play?
Let me tell you a quick story; both true and sad.
I was sitting in a Sportscenter editorial meeting years and years ago. The discussion was about Tiger Woods and the influence he had on African American children and getting them to play golf.
Some said he had a big influence, some said they didn't know. I raised my hand and said I would go ask them for myself.
I got in my car, drove south from Connecticut and straight into the Queensbridge Housing Projects in Queens, one of the largest public housing projects on the planet. I called ahead to some alleged neighborhood drug dealers I knew, had them watch the car and the video equipment, and protect me and the camera dude.
We walked straight into the middle of the city of the street and up to a bunch of kids shooting hoops and asked this, "Do you know who Tiger Woods is, and if you do, how likely are you to want to play golf?"
I will never in my life forget the answers. From the children. For the most part Tiger Woods meant nothing to them. And then a group said to me, "Look around man, you see any golf courses here? If we come walking through here with a golf club, we’re going to jail man, not some country club."
I sat there and talked with the children for a long time. Saw some of the best street ball on the planet. Sat with Ron Artest's dad and watched a young Ron play. I asked him what would it take for the kids here to play golf.
And a man sitting next to me who overheard me ask the question, a man who looked like he could beat the crap out of Mike Tyson leaned over to me, blew out the smoke from his blunt, and quietly, almost in a whisper said only this to my question.
"…we're changing day to day…"
And what will be our miracle, to have this BassAnything survive? I have since been back to Queensbridge a couple of times. Tiger has come and gone, as will Ron Artest and whomever will be the NEXT coming out of the city within the city.
I come away with this: our miracle will not be in the bright lights, nor will it be up there on the stage.
You, are the miracle.
Don't look to us, look to the mirror.
BassAnything's only future rests with you. And who it is you bring with you to the water.
The neighbor's kid.
Your nephew, your niece.
I never brought even the tiniest miracle to Queensbridge, and I regret that, failed that.
But there was one thing I learned there, from the children. Don't show them the game without showing them the opportunity.
Tiger Woods wasn't the answer. Kids didn't need another star up on the stage. The kids needed their own stage. I brought golf to them while I should have brought them to golf.
Our future rests not in bringing the sport to the children, but of bringing the children to the sport.
One child at a time.
One river bathed in sunset at a time.
One glimmering lake at a time.
And they will find the treasure that is out there, by themselves.
And it will stick.
"…but tell me, where do the children play?"
Where Do The Children Play
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