Sylvia’s Story: Meatballs & Hugs

“So take the photographs…”

Dateline:  Sylvia Morris, President CT BASS Nation

“Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

–William Arthur Ward

Know this, Sylvia Morris is going to kick my arse for writing this.

So be it.

Sylvia, my friend, this is payback for either telling me “No!!!” or flat out ignoring my question every year when I ask, “Hey lady any chance I can do a story with you.”

I’m writing a story about you WITHOUT you because we have been friends so long I know you, I know how much you love what you do, how much you love all the members of the Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation, how much you love B.A.S.S., but most of all I can write this without you because I know this, I will forever be grateful for your meatballs.

And hugs.

Next, a sentence I knew one day would come, but hope would not.

Sylvia Morris, President of the CT B.A.S.S. Nation for the past several years, is stepping down.

This Saturday will be her last CT B.A.S.S. Nation banquet as Prez, I couldn’t be there for her meatballs and hugs, probably couldn’t say much of this to her face without breaking down anyway, will have to in a few days pick her up at the airport for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

That’s when my arse will be kicked.

Kicked by a maybe 5 foot tall crazy Italian Yinzer (Pittsburghese for a Pittsburgh native) who bleeds Black and Gold for her beloved Steelers.

Who also bleeds white and silver, the color of the CT B.A.S.S. Nation jerseys.

“…and still frames in your mind…”

"Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar."

~Orrin Woodward

Tomorrow I will step on a plane and fly halfway across the country to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, and event I look forward to every year.

To be honest I could probably get out of doing this event, but I wouldn’t think of doing that, I spend the year covering the face of B.A.S.S., the Elites, this is my time to cover the backbone of B.A.S.S., the Nation members.

I was asked if when I get to the airport on the 13th could I wait and pick up a competitor from South Africa and bring him to the event location, Lake Conroe.  I said no problem, but in a few minutes this email came back to me:  Never mind…..he leaves South Africa on the 13th and arrives the 15th!

How do you not love these people who do that for us, and I mean that when I say, “us,” those at B.A.S.S., take away the Nation, might as well take away us.

So, as I give Sylvia a moment to compose herself as someone from the banquet hands her a printed version of this story, I want to use the makeup fix moment to also thank ALL THE PRESIDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS who make the B.A.S.S. Nation run, if you folks at the CT Banquet wouldn’t mind, please stand now and give them all a hand.

Imagine all the work needed, unpaid, countless hours given up so other people can follow their dreams, that’s special folks, that’s benevolence at it’s grass roots.

They don’t have to do it you know, but do it they do.

And out of their work and sacrifice, young men and women have the chance to one day walk across the Bassmaster Classic stage.

And out of their work and sacrifice on Nation angler WON the Bassmaster Classic, Bryan Kerchal a young man who went from cook to champion.

Bryan Kerchal was killed shortly after winning the Bassmaster Classic.

Bryan was a CT B.A.S.S. Nation angler.

Sylvia can’t say his name without her lower lip quivering.  That my friends are what these Presidents and volunteers are made of. 

It is a flat out privilege to tell their story.

“…hang it on a shelf…”

"To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart."

--Eleanor Roosevelt

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