For Ryan: The Leaf Still Clings

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“We are callin’ all the dreamers,

We are callin’ the believers”


Dateline:   Strength

There are those sent to us who bear with them a special gift.   They are sent to show us just what it is that is possible.

Within all of us.

There are those sent to us who bear with them a special gift.

They are sent to show us, who we are.

And what it is we can be.

Even if our dreams come with chains.

Even if, we no longer believe in ourselves.

There are those sent to us who bear with them a special gift.

They are sent to show us, our strength.

And one of those bearing that gift, is 15 year child.

A child whose dreams come with chains.

The chains of an illness, none of us can imagine.

The chains of Cystic Fibrosis.

The breath of children should come with out any chains, the breath of children is the oxygen that feeds a society.

On their breath rides our future.

On their breath floats our dreams.

And with every labored breath Ryan Foster takes, dreams come true.

For us all.

For Ryan

I first met Ryan last year at the Bassmaster Classic.

A normal looking 14-year-old kid who loved fishing, but who lived a life in chains.

A big fan of Mike Iaconelli, we got Ryan backstage, and he got to hang out with Ike.

Later, with a huge smile on his face, Ryan told me just meeting Ike made his day.

But Ryan my friend, know this, it was YOU who made the day.

It was you who brought the gift, not us.

And Ryan, son, it was you who showed me life backstage.

And it is you Ryan, who I look to, who I think of, when in time of need, I need strength.

Ryan, listen to an old man who knows something of living life with chains.

Strength comes not from supplements.

Strength comes not from lifting weights.

Strength has nothing to do with the pumped physique of biceps or triceps.

Strength, is what is within.

Strength is what it is that makes you climb up off the hospital bed AND CONTINUE ON.

Against all odds is the only way to measure a person’s strength.

Strength is when you take no chance and turn it into a chance of a lifetime.

Strength, is doing exactly what it is you’re not supposed to do.

Which Ryan, you did this year on the lakes of the Southern Tier of New York State.

Not ponds son, LAKES.

Ryan, the gift you bear, is to show us, that sometimes, the chains don’t hold.

Sometimes, with inner strength, the links will break.

As they did this year for the Southern Tier Junior Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year Ryan Foster.

In his rookie year with the club, in the three tournaments that counted for the AOY trophy, Ryan placed first, twice, and Second, once with a total of 26.64 pounds of Bass.

Ryan Foster, Angler-Of-The-Year.

No chains attached.

There are those sent to us who bear a special gift.

Ryan I want you to know that in the times when I feel the links get tight, it is you who I think of.

Outside my window as I write this is a snow covered forest, wind blown snow in drifts of five feet or more.

Tree branches glazed with a quarter inch of ice, bent towards the gleaming snow below.

And on a branch, there is a leaf.

A single leaf in a tree once filled with leaves.

Ryan, that leaf is you.

The leaf that refuses to give up.

To let go.

Ryan you have the strength of the last leaf in the tree.

Ryan whenever I see the last leaf in a tree, I will always think of you.

And the chains will loosen.


Looking for the biggest achievers

Keep on reachin’ for your dreams.”


Own It

The Black Eyed Peas



PS. Ryan check your mailbox! Ike sent you something!