Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Splendid Champion

2014 Bassmaster Classic champion Randy Howell. B.A.S.S.
photo by James Overstreet.
Fishing plans pulled me from the Bassmaster Classic soon after the final press conference and carried me out of phone and Internet range for two days. I returned to a backload of work and no immediate opportunity to report Classic perceptions. In truth, I know folks don't (and shouldn't) turn to here for the most timely and complete news coverage. BASS, FLW and other sites do that well. Still, to fail to convey any impressions somehow would leave me feeling like I hadn't completed the blogging part of my mission at the Classic.

You've likely read about Randy Howell's lures, including the Livingston Lures prototype crankbait he tied on for the first time on the final day of the Classic, and about his last-minute decision to turn his boat around and switch starting spots on the final day. All great stuff.

The things that impressed the most, though, were Randy's honest and unfiltered emotions, his clear testimony about God's love and direction; his obvious desire to give God all the glory; the shared joy of everyone in the crowd about the huge group from King's Home that Randy had arranged special seating for and that all got to see the Bassmaster Classic won by the angler who works hard to raise money and awareness for them; and of course the unified delight of the entire Howell family.

As a fellow homeschool dad, I enjoy seeing the dynamics of families who travel together, sharing experiences and learning on the road. It was fun learning of his son's Sunday School prayer request for "Dad to win the Bassmaster Classic" and for his wife's encouraging idea of hanging that prayer request on the bathroom mirror, so Randy would see it every day -- and her foresight to have someone retrieve that piece of paper from their home on the final day and bring it to the weigh-in.

I haven't had the opportunity to work with Randy Howell, but I've always been impressed by the way he comes across on stage and the personal way that he interacts with fans through social media outlets. I'm seeing that this week, more than ever, from the new Bassmaster Classic champion, and I am convinced that B.A.S.S. has gained a splendid champion.

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