My Week as an Elite (roommate):No Panic

“I’m Starting With”
Dateline: Roomin’ Lake Murray, SC

I was waiting for this.

I want to see my roommate, Russ, NOT do well. Now before you get all boiled up over this, I said not do well, I didn’t say, I want to see him lose.

Big difference.

I beat him home because I wanted to be here when he walked in the door. I wanted to look into his eyes; I wanted to look into his heart; I wanted to look into this man’s DNA.

And this was what I’m looking for, I want to see if Russ is a champion.

Or a chump.

It’s hard to tell when a person wins whether they are chumps or champions, I know a lot champions who are chumps.

Accolades do not make you a champion.

Adversity does.

A champion hates to lose more than they love to win. A champion rises above a winner. All a winner is, is someone who has won something. A champion is someone who has won it all, all the time.

And expects to. Actually, has to.

Because they fear, losing. They cannot, NOT win.

So I sat waiting for my roommate to walk in the door. And I wasn’t going to be passive about this, if this was football, I was going to de-cleet him, I wanted to see how Russ would react while looking out the ear hole of his helmet.

As he came in with his wife Jill, he walked over to his side of the table and just sat down.

This is exactly what I said to him, “So now what dude.”

When Jill looked at me, I knew she got the tone it was said in, because I said it in this tone.

Show me whatcha got.

Neither one of us …

… blinked.

“…the Man …”

And this is what I heard:

“Blah … blah … blah.”

Don’t tell me about the fish that came off, the conditions changed, what you saw but couldn’t catch … Damn it … TELL ME ABOUT YOU.

Show me the chump.

Or show me the champion.

Right now.

And this was the tone of my look … trust me dude if you are a chump this week is over right now.

“I’m not panicking.”

Not the right answer, but you are getting there.

More “Blah, blah, blah” interrupted only by all of our desire to watch Swamp People on TV.

Then Russ went off to bed, and I was left, left … pissed.

I saw his eyes, I saw his heart, but I felt gypped because the DNA … that he keeps locked up.

So I’m sitting here writing with the Rolling Stones playing at the I’m very PO’ed level on my head phones … I have hit the sound button on the laptop so much it has no where to go … it is at LOUD!

Which is why I didn’t hear the bedroom door open up and Jill and Russ walk out with Jill saying, “Russ wants some of my mother’s chicken salad.”

Scared the hell out of me, but as soon as he sat down in his spot with a plate full of Mother-In-Law Chicken Salad, I got the feeling, maybe this late night visit wasn’t all about chickens.

It wasn’t.

And what it was about changed my mind about Russ … forever. 

“…in the mirror…”

I don’t know what lead into what it was he said, and I don’t care, didn’t even bother to write it down, I did write this down though:

“db, so I pull up to schooling fish and I see a big one and lots of little ones. Now I had one tied on that I know could have caught a couple little keepers, so I bent down to pick that one up, and I stopped, and instead I reached over it and picked up the big one I had tied on with a treble hook that I know the big one would go for but one you can lose it with as well.”

At this point in time Russ only had three fish in the livewell.

“I reached for what would get the small ones without even thinking about it, but I physically stopped myself from picking it up.”

Chump, or champ was about to happen right now, I could feel it, and I could tell Jill was tuned into it as well.

“So db, I don’t know whether I said it out loud, or just to myself, but all of me was telling me … be courageous.”


I had to put a pink Starburst in my mouth so they would not see my lip quiver, the feeling I had was the one you have when you know, that somehow, you got through to your child, that somehow for some unknown reason, your child listened.

And without you around, they did the right thing.

“db the big fish comes up and slams it, but as I get him near the boat, he breaks off … was that courageous or just flat out stupid what I did, go for the big one instead of the almost guaranteed little ones.”

With that, I saw his DNA, knew that somewhere locked in that double helix that is Russ, somewhere in the chain, there is the stuff of a champion.

Stupid, not at all Russ buddy. Courage, is not the catch, courage, is the choice. The choice to pick up the big one, and throw it.

There-in lies the courage.

The courage it takes to be a third-day angler

On day one.

I’m asking him to change

The Man In The Mirror

Michael Jackson


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