PRYOR, OK —
I miss fishing.
My family's home has a pond in the back, and when I was younger, I remember my dad going down there almost every night in the summer to hook a few bass or catfish.
I'd go with him on occasion, and I'd be in charge of a little push-button Zebco rod and reel. I'd mimic my dad's casting motion and try to land the big one. I don't think I ever did, though. Maybe that's why my trips down to the pond became fewer and fewer as I got older.
I'm so out of practice, I'm sure if I took up fishing now, I'd look a lot more like the fish flopping around on dry land than the fisherman that caught it.
Fishing is a tough sport to grasp when you're a kid. It requires lots of caution and patience — things the average youngster tends to lack.
Caution and patience tend to grow with maturity, though, so the seasoned angler has plenty of each. Fishing rewards people with caution and patience.
I'm much more cautious and patient now than I was as a kid. It's funny how that dynamic works — I used to want to run around and play all the time, not sit and wait for three hours on a fish that may or may not bite. I liked football and basketball and being loud, not sitting and praying and trying not to make a sound. I already did that every Sunday in church.
I still like football and basketball, but now, sitting around enjoying the long summer days is far more preferable to running all over the place. It's important to slow down and enjoy things as they happen.
I think I understand the appeal of fishing now. Even if you spend all day and don't get a single bite, it can still be rewarding, whether you're fishing alone or with a friend.
I used to work at a golf course, and I would see a lot of fishermen sitting on the banks of the lakes that served as water hazards, alternately watching their floaters and the poor angry guy on the 17th tee box putting his third straight ball in the water.
“You're scaring away the fish!” the man on the bank yelled to the golfer, laughing.
The next day, sitting on the same bank, fishing pole in hand — and smiling a lot more than he was the day before — was the poor guy from the 17th tee box.
Right next to his new friend, the fisherman.