Sometimes, I push a little too much. I know that. So I called an old friend, Jay Yelas, bass fishing world champion, Oregon State grad, husband and father and asked him to talk about the difference in his fishing today compared to when he first set out on tour with his wife in his van. WARNING: this blog may contain wholesome language.
Here’s how Jay answered:
“Life has its different seasons, like chapters in a book, if you will. I love this one I am in now, it is unique and different than those I have lived previously. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have lived before as well. I have lived a very blessed life, and have so much to be thankful for. I have truly lived from my heart, which is the way God intended for us to live, I believe.
“As a young man, my heart was purely just to fish for bass and be a world champion. I did that, praise God!
“As I grew older and spiritually more mature, I realized that this life is not just about me and my dreams. It is about serving others and making a positive difference in their lives. I enjoy this in many ways. With my wife and kids, making sure they are well loved and cared for in every way. With other fishermen, by teaching them the sport and sharing God’s love and Biblical truths with them. With the sport I love by serving on many boards (BASS, PAA, Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, Cast for Kids Foundation, etc.). I have accomplished this too, praise God!
“As far as being a competitor, I still love the challenge of tournaments. It doesn’t have my sole focus now as it once did as a young man. I used to train for tournaments the way an Olympic athlete trains.
“The thing is, you can’t keep that type of focus forever. Life has way too much to offer and enjoy. Family, friends, ministry, charities, hobbies, coaching kids, etc. So I have to lean on the wisdom of experience when competing to make up for the time I spend enjoying and serving in the other arenas of life.
“Is where I am now a better place as a competitor than the early years? Yes! I may not catch them quite as good as I did when I was more focused, but I am in a better place in life. Winning bass tournaments is not all there is to life, as you know. The goal of all anglers should be to win, for sure, but eventually to be able to enjoy all that life has to offer. I am doing that.
“When I am at an event, I am totally focused on bass fishing for that week. When it is over, I attend to all the other wonderful pleasures of this life.”
So, do we hear an ‘Amen’?