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Big Things come in Small Packages
By
Eric Foister

 

As tournament fisherman it is our responsibility to enhance the sport of bass fishing.  The best resource we have is our youth.  We need to invest our time with the anglers of tomorrow in any way shape or form we can.  With all the changes that have taken place  with the TBF, BASS, and FLW outdoors lets make sure that we get involved locally with our own groups in whichever organization you are a part of.  I wrote this open letter to BASS and I hope it will give you the hope and desire to get involved.

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 blessed in this world.  I have a loving and healthy family.  I have enjoyed success in coaching and in fishing.  All that seemed pretty meaningless with being a small part of making a kid smile in times of tragedy and adversity.  Do yourself a favor.  Get involved.  You never know how it could change your world.

Eric Foister
Huntington , IN