A warm round of applause welcomed Hank Parker to the stage as one of the guest speakers from last nights Forest Woods Cup banquet. As Hank Parker took the stage, in usual fashion, he always has something funny to say and tonight was no different.
He started out talking about “Living the Dream”; how he has been blessed in his fishing career, how everyone always has something to say about how we, as he looked out to all the anglers, “…are living the dream, and we are.” He jokingly continued, “We are living the dream getting up at 4 A.M. for 20 days in a row. Between driving to the event, practicing for the event, and fishing against the best angers out there, we are living the dream. When it’s cold out and we are getting hit in the face with ice, we are living the dream. While running 4 foot waves to our fish and having to run 6 foot waves back to weigh-in, we are living the dream. Some days it’s more like a nightmare.” Like I said Hank always has something funny to say but there is a lot of truth in his words. Those on the outside may only see the best moments in our sport and often times the hardships are over looked. Or at the very least are willing to blindly trade what they have for what they wish for…”living the dream.”
Hank Parker talked about our sport and the difference between other sports out there, saying, “In other Sports they just hate each other. In fishing the key at the end of the day is friendship.”
“Look, we have all been there”, says Hank to the Cup contenders. “We have all worked hard at finding our spot filled with fish that we hope and believe will bring us the win. Then, as you sit there, you see a boat come in on your spot.” As the crowd laughs with a complete understanding, Mr. Parker continues, “As you watch them, you hope and you pray they just keep running by, but nope”. Hank shakes his head,”Sure enough he sits right down on the same fish you found and starts fishing.” Hank continues his story, “You want to kill him. I mean KILL HIM; pull out your AK47 and Killllllll HIM! But you don’t, you just smile and wave while wishing him well. At the end of the event, no matter who won or lost, you shake hands and you know you’re still friends.”
Hank Parker closed his talk with, “So my friends, chase your dreams and go after the trophies, but never forget the guys around you Living the Dream with you – your friends.”
Day after day anglers impress me with thinking above themselves. Anglers seem to always go the extra mile; hosting benefit tournaments, taking a child or Wounded Warrior out on the water, or just embracing the understanding they have for each others love of our sport. I hope I’ve been able to show the way these guys are so open and accepting of not just each other but of the fans, media and even the Co-Anglers. Even at the Cup, those “Living the Dream” haven’t forgotten what it’s like hungering for a spot and welcome us all with open arms.
Fishing Never Felt So Good!