As you might have already heard, I was fortunate enough to be involved with a string of life changing events over the course of the past week and a half that have really reshaped me as an angler. Granted, I am still the same student at Auburn University and I still have to go to the same library as everyone else, however I will now be able to tell my grandkids one day that I fished in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. The events that took place will forever change how people identify me. Yet again, I still am that same kid from Auburn.
About two months ago I began a real inward search for who I was as a person and moreover who I wanted to become. A lot of kids dream of fishing professionally, chasing around green fish day in and day out, and fishing in the Bassmaster Classic. Anglers of all ages that I have met throughout my life have strived to achieve these goals, yet for a very select few do they actually occur. Many of these people are much more knowledgeable than me and some have even been fishing tournaments long before I was born. I have always loved fishing and gradually as I finished my High School years I really gave a lot of thought into pursuing fishing as a career. As my college years began to dwindle away, I really started considering how I was going to manage working in the "real world" and fishing. Now I have been blessed with this tournament win and who knows where it will take me in the next year and for the rest of my life.
Why me? The life-changing question. Of course, like everyone else, I went to Little Rock with hopes of competing for and winning a National Championship. Of course, I too dreamed about winning the bracket format that would place one lucky kid in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. But unlike everyone else, my dreams came true.
The only place I can look for answers to my life-changing question is with the man upstairs. First off, I am in no way any better of a person than whoever is reading this. I have not gone to more church services than you, I have not prayed more than you, and I have definitely not made better decisions than you. But something that I do know is that I have been granted this. I have been placed in this position for a reason. The good Lord saw it fit that I should win in the fashion I did last week and have a chance to be a part of this upcoming Classic.
My only hope is that by being placed in this position I may be able to change someone for the better. I hope that I can positively influence the lives of others along the way. I know I will sometimes fall short and no one is ever perfect, I just want to make the best of my opportunities. I want to soak in every moment that I have and never take for granted just how fortunate I am.
The support that everyone has shown me has been unreal. Without my family supporting me I would not have even been able to set foot on stage. I probably would have never come to Auburn to fish in the first place. To that I owe a real thank you to my mom and dad. The texts and calls I have received from everyone have meant the world to me. To have other college anglers express how happy they are that YOU are representing them just gives me chills. Why me?
I hope that I can continue to make everyone proud in the way I act on and off of the water. I am truly blessed to be placed in the position I am in and I am humbled by how God has blessed my life. Thank you all for your support, it means the world to me.