Fog in the Wind

    Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
    Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go ...

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. Sometimes, whatever it is that directs things in the universe decides not to be very subtle.

One of those times happened today. This morning.

On a cold lake in Arkansas, the universe reached out and hit me upside my head.

Some call it a Eureka moment.

Some call it spiritual.

Some call it karma.

This morning, it was a wake up call whoopin.'

Today was the final day of the Women's Bassmaster Tour Championship. History's morning. We had come screaming to this place in time, a one of a kind day, a day lifetimes revolve around.

It was still dark at the dock on Lake Hamilton ... launch into forever was at 7 a.m. The parking lot was alive with huge multicolor pickup trucks backing shiny colorful bass boats into the show.

Red lights, green lights, headlights, flashlights, shouts to stop, shouts to move, shouts to hurry up, wishes of good luck, be safe, catch 'em.

225 Mercs blasted the darkness that was night, dually truck tires squealed on the ramp's wet pavement, the power swoosh of the diesel skimmed the water like a horsepower fueled flat stone.

The smell of excitement, fear, anticipation, adrenalin the perfume of choice.

It was the dance the best of the best do as they are about to rule.

And it all came to a screeching halt.

For all our power, for all our talent, for all our will, the universe reached out and hit the pause button.

Who, or whatever it is that guides things, said, "Whoa."

All stopped.

And the fog engulfed us all. And held us there, quiet-like.

Forty women on an historic trek came to a standstill.

Powerless in the fog. Adrift in the fog. On the lake, alone in the fog.

That folks, is the slap upside the head.

If you needed any explanation about what this tournament was all about, you only need peer into the fog.

The first two days of this tournament, the weather was pretty much the same as today, cold and clear.

But it was today, THE DAY history was made, the universe became the tournament director, and stopped it to show us what we have done, and can do.

I got none of this as I was standing there freezing, I just wanted the thing to start.

But as I leaned against the wooden dock rail slowly the morning sun broke through the fog, and in a split second moment of time, two WBT anglers trolled out of the fog, and crossed in front of the sunrise.

And that's when I got what this was all about.

Kim Bain, welcome to your future

    So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
    It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time ...

It's not about the fish.

Kim, your ticket has been punched for the tournament of your life.

If there are history books that record these things, your photo is going in it, and will be in it. Forever.

First place in being First.

Here's the money shot ... a whole bunch of guy anglers up on stage. And you.

That photograph will follow you for life. That photograph will be seen around the world. In newspapers, in magazines, on the Internet.

But in no place will that photograph be more important than on a little girl's bedroom wall.

Scotch-taped, pinned or stapled, circled, colored, underlined, tiny hearts drawn in, glitter stuck to it, edges curled or torn, black and white, or four-color glossy, that photograph will become the masterpiece of dreams.

It's a photograph of possibilities.

It's the photograph that we, the father's of daughters can point to when we tell that little girl we love bouncing on Daddy's lap. That yes, Ashley you can do anything you want to do. And mean it.

Back at WBT4, I did a story about a young 4-year-old girl named, Kristy, who was fishing in a children's fishing tank. She had vanilla hair and a vanilla smile as she stood there with a fishing pole in her hands.

A couple days later, I got this e-mail from her Aunt Carmella:

"She says she plans to be a princess when she grows up. One thing is for sure: If she decides she wants to do the WBT, or anything else in life, she'll go for it. And anyone in her way better watch out. Her dad is an avid fisherman and her oldest brother just had a fishing party for his 11th birthday. They are certainly a "fishing family," so maybe she'll be the Princess of the WBT one day."

Kim, what you have done today will help Kristy, and many other young girls do just that  and beyond. When your picture on stage comes out, I'm going to cut it out and send it to Kristy along with a glue stick for the wall.

Today, tomorrow, next week, next month, a whole bunch of reporters are going to ask you a whole bunch of questions ... most will be a variation of, "so what's it feel like to... "

They'll encircle you, they'll have you sit at a table in front of them, they'll shout, they talk softly into a microphone then stick it in your face, you'll get questions via e-mail, and through your cell phone.

Lot's of questions, lot's of time.

But I would only like to ask you one. One question. Here it is:

"Kim, what about this, are you going to tell your grandchildren?"

You'll still be the first way out there in time. At some point, they will know that, and so what will it be that you will say about this special place in time.

Many of us who where on that dock with you on that historic day will be long gone by then, so let me whisper something in your ear right now.

"Remember the fog."

I'm hoping you'll be able to say to those at your knee, "Back in the day, a person's race or sex used to be news when they did something ... "

And hopefully, your grandchildren will stare at you in disbelief.

    It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
    I hope you had the time of your life.

     Green Day, "Time of Your Life"


Don Barone is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association. Other stories of his can be found on Amazon.com. For comments or story ideas you can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com