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Sometimes the best things you can share are also contagious

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 9:14 p.m. CDT

It might be contagious — that is a phrase that we dread hearing. Once we are told of possible contact with an infectious person, we spend the next several days scrutinizing every sneeze, cough, and ache. Our psyche tells us that we are sure to get it.

What if “it” wasn’t so bad? What if that “it” was something that we were hoping to catch, or better yet, pass it on deliberately? Some things in this world are contagious and we need to be thankful for that.

Let me tell you a little story.

Last summer there was a young boy on a baseball team.  He was blessed to have a summer birthday and of course, all of his baseball teammates were invited to a party. He received the usual presents of cash, Nerf guns, and other typical things boys would like. He had also requested something special though, something that not all young boys ask for anymore.

He wanted fishing stuff — anything and everything. This young man spent most of his summer days roaming the shoreline if front of his house fishing. He wasn’t hung up on just one particular species of fish or technique. No, this young man wanted to catch anything that would be so gracious as to let itself be caught.

His enthusiasm for the sport was infectious. He invited others over and together they would chase the sun over the horizon and greet it the next morning. All the while holding a rod in their hands.

The calendar then flipped a few pages and finally settled on the winter of 2013. My own son had been exposed to this contagious disorder and had been running a fever for quite some time. The disease has taken such a firm hold that it has worked its way to his wallet.

In this day of “plugged in” devices and video game excess, he had an extra special plan for his birthday money. He had been saving it for quite some time and had a sizeable sum.

His mother and I hoped that he would not want yet another video game. Then he surprised us. He wanted a new fishing reel. Not just any old reel, but a Quantum PT edition Kevin VanDam signature model. Oh yeah. This was a serious angler’s tool and I was quite proud. Keep in mind, this desire to buy a reel took hold many weeks before he would actually be able to wet a line.

This brings me to this last weekend. Another young boy, from the same baseball team as the other two, had his birthday as well. Like the others, he had a party and all of his friends came over. The traditional email from his mom was sent out explaining what the youngster wanted.

You guessed it. He too wanted fishing stuff. To be specific he wanted some plastic worms in green pumpkin. Now that is an angler that knows his stuff. You would think that these very detailed and specific requests would be brought forth by anglers in their thirties or forties. Not so. These bass bandits are all ten or eleven years old!

I was more than happy to oblige his birthday wishes. I not only picked up the bait of choice, but I also filled his birthday bag with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and a variety of other lures. I wanted to feed this infection the best I could. 

It makes me proud to think that when these three young ballplayers get together that some of the conversations just might be of the fishy kind. With any luck they will have the opportunity to spend some time on the water together, catch a few fish, and build plenty of memories for tomorrow.

Yes, sometimes contagious infections are of the variety that make parents smile. Sometimes they are so deeply set that the outdoors still might win a few battles against the electronic maelstrom that preoccupies much of our children’s time.

Congratulations fishing bug, you successfully struck again!

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