Except for in the household of the guy who finished second, I think there’s been near-universal happiness over the fact that Charlie Hartley won the Northern Open on the James River and thereby qualified for the 2017 Bassmaster Classic.
I’m as excited about it as anyone. As I’ve written before, no pro seems to value not only the trappings of his status (free baits, free rods) but also just the opportunity to compete as much as old Charlie does. While some of his competition looks like they’re headed to get root canal surgery on tournament morning, he’s excited to be out there every day. That’s the way it should be.
The only hesitation in my excitement is that it likely means the end of a tradition. Over the past few years, on the first day of every Bassmaster Classic, I’ve gotten a text from Charlie. It’s always some variation of “Can’t wait to read what you write today” or “Thanks for being our eyes and ears on the water.” I’m sure that he sends similar messages to other writers and bloggers, and I guarantee you that every one of us values the fact that he is reading our work. In a sense it will be sad to wake up at Conroe in late March and not get that message, but in this case I think he has a valid excuse.
I guess I can live with the love of the game meaning the loss of a text.