Wow. What a week! Postseason baseball is incredibly fun, even more so when you win, but it’s also pretty draining on the mind and body. As I rested today after being on the road for a week, I began to think of some of the ways baseball, hunting, and fishing share some similarities. Of course, baseball shares similarities with many things in life, as do hunting and fishing, but I don’t know much about accounting or construction so I’ll have stick with what I know.
Going into our conference tournament this past week, I felt like we knew a pretty good bit about the opponents that we would face. We’d seen most of them during the regular season, and I didn’t expect too many surprises in the tournament. In the days leading up to the tournament we look over statistics, tendencies, and make out scouting reports. If we do it right, we should have a decent idea of what our opponent can and cannot do. Then we put together a game plan of what it will take to win. How is this any different than hunting?
In the months leading up to the beginning of deer season, many of us will scout the animals we want to pursue. We will prepare food plots, put out cameras, and plot areas on a map of where we think gives us the best opportunity for success. By the time the season gets here, we will have a pretty good idea of what our opponent (the deer) are doing and when they are doing it. We will know how the deer will move in certain kinds of weather. We will know where they sleep and what they are eating. We will know which stands will give us the best chance for success depending on the direction of the wind. In essence, we will have our own little scouting report to give us our best chance to harvest that buck we’ve been lusting after. Just like baseball.
Before I go to a lake or river to fish, I usually like to take a look at some type of map. If it’s a public lake, there is usually a map somewhere online showing the different depths of the lake. It’s always good to know ahead of time where the deeper water is and where it begins to drop. If I’m fishing a river, I like to look at a topo map. This gives me a decent idea of steep drops in the land that usually coincides with a drop off in the river. After getting a general idea of where to fish, the next step is how to catch the fish. I equate this to trying to get a hitter out. If you’re a pitcher, you need to know what pitches a hitter hits well and what pitches they don’t hit well. Can I get this guy out with a slider? Can I catch this bass with a spinner bait? What pitches do this team feast on? What baits do these fish feast on? Just like baseball.
Next is the equipment debate. I’ve seen baseball players with crummy bats and ragged gloves whip the tails of kids with brand new stuff. They are just better players. I’ve also seen fishermen that were in boats held together by duct tape and prayers win tournaments while guys buzzed around in forty-thousand dollar rigs catching weeds. They are just better fishermen. However, my mother in law often chides me about being the best dressed hunter in the woods, and I am. I’m built for comfort, not speed. There are also a heckuva lot of guys out there killing booners in blue jeans and flannel shirts, while I snooze away an afternoon in the best Under Armor jacket you can imagine. They are just better hunters. However, I do believe that having updated equipment gives you an edge in the woods and on the water, just as it does on the baseball field. If you put two equal teams on the field, give one the best equipment and the other old equipment, I’d bet the guys with the new digs win the game. If my uncle had the gear and clothing that I have, he’d likely be able to sit in the woods for 3-4 days without making a twitch. Regardless of gear, some hunters/fishermen are just better…just like baseball.
Finally, how about the joy and heartache that each bring? After hours of preparation and work, how gut wrenching is it to miss that buck you’ve worked so hard for? Or better, how much happiness does it bring you to catch the bass of a lifetime after fishing a particular lake for an entire summer, day in and day out? Fortunately for our team, we got to experience the happy side of things this past weekend. After an entire year of uncertainty with Covid, and a regular season filled with ups and downs, we were able to raise a trophy on Sunday and proclaim ourselves conference champions. It’s a good feeling when hard work pays off! Just like hunting and fishing.