I'M GIVING UP my spot in the parking garage.

I’M GIVING UP my spot in the parking garage.

The thought has been nagging me during my last few attempts as a U.S. Open competitor. While I know more about the game now than I ever did (and enjoy full sponsorship), I’ve come to recognize the mortal who was going to have to put that knowledge to work is not up to the task.

I’m just not Benjamin Button. I don’t wake up after a hard day on Lake Mead and feel younger and stronger.

In fact, it takes every over-the-counter aid to keep me focused on seeing what the fish are doing, not to mention keeping track of weather patterns and wave intensity as I blast to the lengths of Lake Mead. Yeah, I can still wind a few fish, but all the while I’m reeling in the years.

THERE'S ONLY so much compensation you take...

THERE’S ONLY so much compensation you can take…

This is not a “weep for me” confession from some old guy, but balance, vision, finger dexterity and endurance aren’t what they were. I stopped by legendary angler Don Iovino (who retired from the Open last year) and I heard the pain in his voice as he said: “I wish I was going out with you guys.”

My response, “It won’t be long and I’ll be standing here with you [in sponsors’ row.]”

Of course, that wistful feeling is already tugging at me. There is nothing like the anticipation of a U.S. Open: the planning, the preparation and the prefish. And when the Anthem concludes and all the engines fire up, your whole life is compressed into idling forward to the start point, straining to hear your name and number called in the din.

But in fact, I’ve been hearing my name called for the last couple of years…and the voice is saying, “It’s time to face reality.” I’ve weighed all the factors (even put it to prayer) and though the pull of the Open is almost Kraken-like, I know this is the right decision.

Just call me Benjamin Velcro.




7 Responses to “I’m just not Benjamin Button…”

Kramer… I feel your pain, literally. Back, shoulders, arms, neck, wrists, forearms, fingers, legs, butt, ear drums, eyes, knees and feet… ALL HURT!!! In my best Forrest Gump voice, “Bass’n is haaarrdd..!”

I gave up on the US Open in 2010 when I got so sick from the heat I couldn’t even fish! And don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, George. I’ve been taking Aleve (Tylenol doesn’t do anything for me) for years, along with meds for blood pressure, and cholesterol. I also take a handful of vitamins every day.

Let’s start the seniors US Open in March

Folks don’t know how much energy is used to fish off a boat, young or old. If you’ve not been out on a boat in a while your muscles are probably not in shape for all that’s required just to stand up straight on it for a full day. That constant rocking and rollin’ needs to be adjusted for, we take it for granted. If I take off a month in the winter, as I usually do as I don’t like to slow down to fish, I feel it when I go back out. And a sunrise to sunset stint takes a lot more out of me lately. But I’m not old yet, I’m only 63. Keep the faith.

George, I enjoyed talking to you as usual! See you next year at the U.S. Open

I like big daddy’s idea.

I’m in!