Large Rewards come in Small packages

I received this letter and I want to share it with the rest of the world. It is these type of events that places fishing as a sport that rises above all the rest.  There is no reward as great as seeing you have helped another human being to enjoy life. 

Walt Reynolds, BASS Touring Pro

Dear Bass: 

I am the Boy’s Basketball Coach and Biology at Huntington North H.S.here in Indiana.  I am also an avid tournament angler and I am starting my third year being associated with the Federation.  As a member of the Syracuse Bassmasters I was asked to work the “Casting for Kids” contest during the Indianapolis Boat Show.  Bass fishing has always been my stress reliever.  As you can imagine being a high school basketball coach in the state of Indiana can be very emotional and stressful.  I deal with kids on a daily basis and I love what I do. I was a little apprehensive because the timing of the event is right before the State Tournament.  Obviously, this is a very important time.  I had worked the previous year and I really enjoyed it.  I would never have guessed that this year’s event would have such a profound affect on my life.

 After 2 hours of working with the contest I had the privilege of working with a 5-year-old boy whose name I will not give for future obvious reasons.  This boy had fished before and I could see his eyes light up when I handed him the fishing rod.  As mom and dad watched, I showed him the basics of how to cast.  I watched as he attempted to cast at the target.  He told me about his biggest fish he ever caught and he was beaming from ear to ear.  We moved to all the spots and he finally placed his lure on the target and scored his first points.  I gave him a high five and at that point I knew why I came down to work.  I was not prepared for what happened next

 About five minutes later as I was working with a girl named Brooke, the mother of the 5 year old came up to me.  She was visibly emotional and thanked me for being very patient and kind.  I thanked her for the compliment.  She proceeded to tell me that her son had not been out of the house in over a week.  He was diagnosed with Leukemia in the previous weeks.  This was the first time as a family that they had been out and did something outside of the house.  I was completely speechless.  I was not prepared for anything like that.  To think of that young child as being stricken with cancer made me sick to my stomach.  I had to go to the restroom to get my emotions in check. 

 I have been very fortunate in my life in having a great amount of success in coaching and teaching.  I have been honored with  “Teacher of the Year”, “Coach of the Year” for the State of Florida in 1996, and I have coached in the Final Four.  All those awards are pretty meaningless. I can honestly say the compliment I received from this mother will stay with me forever.  As members of B.A.S.S. we have an obligation to the future of this great sport.  I encourage any fishermen to get involved with our young people.  I do it for a living and on that day I could have made many excuses not to work that day.  I know it is hard to make time for things such as this, but you never know how you might affect a child in a way that could change your views on life.  Get involved! 

Sincerely,  

Eric Foister

Huntington, IN