Lee has remained one of the more quiet pros, mostly only animated when he talks about catching fish, or more specifically, how he caught his fish. Otherwise, he’s low-key, doesn’t say too much and seems to choose his words judiciously. This big moment knocked him over, and Kevin VanDam knows exactly why.
“It’s because he truly understand and cares. It’s respect of the game,” said KVD, adding he was similarly overcome after most of his Classic wins, especially No. 4. “It was emotional because I knew what it meant, and to be able to watch my family, it was like it was for them.”
At the 2011 Classic on the Louisiana Delta, KVD got somewhat excited then tearful as he matched Rick Clunn with four titles and back-to-back wins, only the second to do that. Lee joined them with consecutive crowns, and he also became the sixth angler to win more than one Classic. He’s in an exclusive fraternity with the aforementioned, Bobby Murray, Hank Parker and George Cochran.
VanDam waited inside the arena to congratulate Lee and was there an hour or so later at the Champion’s Toast. Shortly after B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin introduced the 2018 champion, Lee stumbled in his speech in front of many other competitors, sponsors, media and B.A.S.S. personnel. He began by thanking Agnew for keeping his mind right.
“From what I’ve learned, the mental game has to be there. She kept it up for me. I had a huge following today. Gavin (Ellis) is here. This guy here …” he said before getting a bit verklempt again. “ … he taught me how to fish. I fished my first tournament with Gavin. I was probably like 12 years old. He’s been out here following me all week. It was pretty special to do it for him, and do it for my family.
“Sorry. Gosh, I wish I didn’t friggin’ cry so much, especially in front of friends and family. Golly, now cheer me up a little bit, dammit. I’m cheerful, but it’s just emotional. It’s just so awesome to be up here.”
Originally posted on Bassmaster Go to Source
Author: Mike Suchan
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