Not Everyone Gets a Trophy

Another phrase I’ve decided that I need to banish from my writing vocabulary: “At some point, he’s going to win a major title.”

By “major title,” I mean Bassmaster Classic champion or Elite Series AOY, but if I focused more heavily on FLW there’s no reason it couldn’t apply to their championship and AOY as well.

I know that I’ve written it about Keith Combs.

Pretty sure that I’ve used it to describe Brandon Palaniuk and Jordan Lee.

It probably applies to Todd Faircloth, widely described as “the best never to win a major title” now that Edwin won a Classic.

Looking down the list, you could easily add Jason Christie or Bill Lowen. 

While none of us – least of all me – should be surprised if any of those anglers wins a title (or multiple titles), the very real truth is it’s possible that some of them, most of them or all of them might not. It takes such a perfect three days to win the Classic, and virtually any member of the field is capable of coming out of nowhere and winning, that even if you make it every year there are no guarantees. Likewise with AOY – one bad event effectively dooms your season. 

While each of those anglers should be competitive year in and year out, math says that the chances of all of them winning a title are small. In fact, every time one of them wins one, it obviously reduces the chances that the others will do so, and there’s nothing that says that a KVD, Skeet or even Rick Clunn can’t go on a big run during the others’ prime years, thus taking away even more opportunities. Additionally, there are going to be more Jordan Lees and Brandon Palaniuks coming up in the coming years, and that’ll further strengthen the field and dilute their dominance.

So to me the question becomes not whether they will win one, or when they will win one, but rather how we assess their careers if they’re otherwise superlative but don’t include the big line item. I suppose you could look to Dan Marino or Ernie Banks or Karl Malone for parallels, but somehow fishing, as an individual sport with a much longer career path, feels like it deserves a different analysis.