What’s wrong with people?

In my early 60’s, my level of patience is deteriorating rather quickly. The one area really being tested is with the human race and their level of disrespect and stupidity.

It’s no secret that I too have had my share of crazy moments, and I’m not proud of them. But we live in a time when it seems some people have forgotten how to act. Courtesy has disappeared from the American vocabulary.

About a month ago, I was fishing the American Bass Anglers (ABA) two-day divisional championship on Lake Sam Rayburn. It was during our morning takeoff that one guy decided to make it all about himself instead of being courteous.

Takeoff is where the tournament director calls out boat numbers as anglers head out for a day of competition. These takeoffs take place next to a boat dock as anglers drive their boats past the dock with their livewells open. As the boat passes the dock, the director makes sure competitors have no fish in their livewell and that their aeration system is working properly. It’s called a rolling start and is common among tournament circuits.

Our tournament director, Chris Wayand, who does an outstanding job, was getting ready for takeoff when he approached a fellow fishing off the dock. Chris explained to the man that he was about to release the boats for the tournament, and they would be driving by the dock where he was fishing. Chris asked the man if he would like to reel in his line while we drove by so that no one would cut his line with their boat motors.

This is where things went south. The boat dock fisherman went off on Chris with an outburst of foul language, saying he had just as much right to fish off that dock as we did to drive by it.

Chris agreed that he did have the right to fish off the dock, but explained the competitors would be out of his way in 10 to 15 minutes. Chris was polite and never raised his voice even after the guy was rude and inconsiderate.

Recognizing that the dock fisherman was not going to reel in his line for takeoff, Chris made an announcement to the tournament anglers and asked that we try and veer away from the dock as quickly as possible so as not to run over the man’s fishing line.

As Chris began to call boat numbers and anglers idled by the boat dock, it was about boat Number 3 that the moment got ugly. Boat 3, with some inexperience on board, managed to run over the dock fisherman’s fishing line and cut it. The angler jumped out of his chair and ran down the dock cursing Chris Wayand while shaking his finger in Chris’s face.

The angler peppered the air with a string of curse words to express his displeasure with his line being run over and the idea that we tournament anglers think we own the lake.

While none of us actually had ownership over any part of Lake Sam Rayburn, this old man (probably in his mid 70s) was still giving Chris a piece of his mind as I approached the dock as boat Number 11 during takeoff.

If I could have the opportunity to talk with this gentleman, I would ask him a couple of questions. Why was he so uncooperative and refused to show a little respect for our takeoff that morning? Why was he so set on continuing to fish, knowing that the odds of him catching a fish were near zero while bass boats were driving directly over his fishing area?

For some reason the dock fisherman decided to try to make a point by refusing to cooperate and show a little courtesy to avoid a confrontation. Instead, he CHOSE to make a public scene and show everyone just how uncooperative he could be.

What is wrong with people today? Why do some folks choose to be selfish rather than use just a little common sense? Why can’t people be respectful and get along? Where did we as a country lose our respect for one another?

But this one incident is just an example of the country we live in today. The attitude too often is: IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!

‘Til next time good luck, good fishing and let’s all try to get along and regain respect for each other.

Contact Steve at sgraf26@yahoo.com