by: John Stevens , Colorado 10/24/2015
Life is full of decisions, and being a father has decisions of it's own. Fishing has decisions, and fishing tournaments involve decisions as well.
There are decisions that we all must make in our everyday lives, as well as our fishing lives when we fish. Being an avid angler, and now tournament fisherman with my son as my partner, involves many more decisions and decisions of a different scope.
A couple years ago my son Zackary, expressed a desire to fish the CWA walleye tournaments with me as my partner. I was thrilled, however, I also recognized a short time later that the time was just not right yet. His desire continued to grow, and this summer we fished the Pueblo CWA walleye tournament together. We did well, for a first ever tournament together and caught plenty of fish. More importantly, he had fun, and wanted to continue doing tournaments with me. To me that equated to a successful tournament.
I fished the next Pueblo tournament, a Tightline Outdoors walleye insanity tournament at Pueblo with my buddy Mark as my partner a week later. We had fun, I learned a lot, and again we caught a lot of fish, but nothing weighable. I intended for that to be the last tournament of the open water season for me. However, Zackary had other plans!
Zackary begged and insisted that we fish the last Tightline tournament of the season at Boyd Lake today, Oct.24th. Initially, I was hesitant, as the weather this time of year is so unpredictable. Eventually though, I signed us up and prepared to prep for the tourney.
As many of you know, this spring and into summer my father was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. At his age, there is no real hope. He has gone from a strapping man of 165 lbs, to a withered shell of his former self. He has gone through 4 months of chemotherapy, and the Dr's have found cancer in his lymph nodes as well as in 4 other areas throughout his body. He is a fighter though. In my lifetime, I have never seen him quit or give up. He went through the chemo, and now on Tuesday he faces a lengthy surgery to try to remove the cancer from his pancreas. At best, he may gain a year, at worst...well, you know. In either case, he will have been true to himself and fought the good fight. Needless to say , come Tuesday myself and my son as well as the entire family will be at the hospital for and with him.
Which brings me back to today's tournament. This week a massive cold front blew in, and I knew the bite today would be tough to say the least. I thrive and excel when there has been 3 days of stability in the weather. 3 days of cold front, three days of high sun, three days of rain, doesn't matter I just seem to need 3 days. My son started texting me from school yesterday around 10 a.m. saying he wasn't feeling well. He came home from school early and went to bed pretty much right away with medicine. He told me that he would be ok to fish the tournament today.
I woke him at 2:00 a.m. to get ready for the tourney, and I could tell he wasn't totally better yet. I went back to my room and prepared to get ready, sitting in my chair, I thought about Dad, and his upcoming surgery, I thought of the 2 hour one way trip to the lake today, fishing a tourney without a lot of hope that the fish would be plentiful with a son and partner that was feeling sub par. Looking at the overall picture, I decided that I would rather miss this last tournament, than take a chance that Zackary would not have an enjoyable time and lose interest in next years season.
So I decided to cancel our trip and forfeit our entry fees. Was the decision hard? In a way, as a fisherman, yes as I would have loved to have fished it. As a father though, no it wasn't. My sons, as well as my families health is more important than any single tournament. It is far more important that he be well, so he can be with us at the hospital Tuesday for my dad, his Grandfather.
Life is full of decisions my friends, decisions that later on you realize didn't matter, and then decisions like my dad has made this year which quite literally are lifelong decisions that will effect the rest of whatever life he has left. Put into perspective like that, tournaments for me are fun, times to learn, enjoy, and be out on the water with my son in quality time.
That's my take on things, and also an update on things with me. You'll all be hearing more from me very soon.
See you on the water,
Blog content © John Stevens
fom, CO 10/24/2015 7:21:10 PM
I'm praying for you and your family
John Stevens (Tiny Stevens), CO 10/24/2015 7:52:48 PM
Thanks Scooter! The prayers and thoughts are very welcomed by me and my family!
IceFishingFool, CO 10/24/2015 8:55:03 PM
Hang in there Tiny. You got it, some times life's decisions only
IceFishingFool, CO 10/24/2015 8:55:47 PM
leave us guessing.
grababrewski, CO 10/24/2015 11:36:55 PM
Gotta do what ya gotta do. You definitely have your priorities straight.
My prayers are with you. Man, life can be tough, hang in there my friend!
opencage, CO 10/26/2015 9:20:24 PM
Hear, hear. Great write-up Tiny, it's good to read your stuff again. Sounds like you have a strong family there.
John Stevens (Tiny Stevens), CO 10/27/2015 11:10:18 PM
Thanks Bud, Tom and Tom! Just wanted to give a short update... Surgery for my dad was today, the Dr's think it was a huge success so far! He will be in ICU for a few days, and then onto a regular room at the hospital. So it's not over yet... but, it sure felt great to see Dad tonight!
anglerwannabe, CO 10/29/2015 1:36:35 PM
good luck and Gods speed Tiny. Thank you for sharing