Thursday, March 17, 2011
By Don Barone Bassmaster.com
"Floatin' down that old river boy, all my worries far behind,
Floatin' down that old river boy, leave old memories way behind ... "
Dateline: Greyhawkin' Palatka
If'n you could, what would you do?
If'ni I could, I would do this:
Race the Paris to Dakar Rally. Go into the Talladega high banks at 200 mph, foot through the floorboard, eyes wide open.
Lee Sisson, Elite Series rookie
Circle the moon.
Find a deserted beach and ask my wife to marry me.
Leave footprints on the bottom of the ocean, freefall through a cloud, float on the bubbles of Niagara Falls.
Chase the sunset.
Expect most of my if'n's to be left hanging when I'm all said and done. A good life, made better, when all the if'ns are gone. Imagine, instead of having a bucket list, you have a bucket life.
Seize the dream my friends. Seize your dream.
Just like Lee Sisson did. "If they are going to at age 63 offer me a chance to fish the Elites when I qualified, you've got to do it, no ifs about it."
I'm sure you've heard his story, oldest Elite rookie ever.
"I have kids older than a lot of these guys on the tour, in fact my oldest son is 41, I don't have any children YOUNGER than 23."
The Elites do.
That's the kind of smile you get when you don't leave an "if" hanging.
"My kids think the old man is nuts, but db, I'm having a ball, just a complete ball."
Here's the quickest history of Lee Sisson you will ever read ... he designed Bagley Crankbaits. Legendary, cool, all that, yep, but here's some other Lee Sisson history, you may not have heard ... I'll let Lee tell you.
"Yep db, Terry Bradshaw taught me how to fish, and I taught him how to scramble."
Um-humm, THAT Terry Bradshaw.
From 1967 until 1971, Lee Sisson played offensive tackle at Louisiana Tech.
When the little card was handed to Commissioner Pete Rozelle, he said something to the fact, "And with the first pick of the 1970 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers pick ... Terry Bradshaw, quarterback, Louisiana Tech.
"When the colleges came calling in my senior year at high school I picked Louisiana Tech because I knew Bradshaw was good, real good, I knew he really had something."
Lee redshirted then when he went in he would play either left tackle or switch to right tackle for more playing time, "I was second string, but Bradshaw was so good we would score lots of points so the starters got to sit a bunch, and I got a bunch of playing time."
Even played in two Bowl Games, The Grantland Rice Bowl.
If 'n it's offered, you take it, and then, chase, the sunrise.
"Bradshaw was very focused, serious about his football, boy, he was serious. I remember this time it was like third down and hopeless, so Bradshaw comes into the huddle and tells us line guys, 'OK, boys hold them out and we are going to score.' So we do our best and he throws this long bomb and we score a touchdown."
"But some sort of penalty brought it back, so Bradshaw walks back into the huddle looks at us and says, 'Boys you hold them out,' then he looks over to the wide receiver and asks,' Can you beat him again?' and the receiver says, 'He just ran as far as I did,' so Bradshaw calls the same play ... instant reply ... long bomb to the same guy, we score and win the game."
"One time we are getting beat, and I'm walking off the field down the sidelines headed to the tunnel, not happy, then suddenly I hear the crowd go crazy, and I look to my side ... and I'll never forget this ... never ... all I see is the wide receiver's eyes get all big as the ball drops down out of the air into his hands and he runs in for the score ... and we win. It was never hopeless out there when Bradshaw was playing."
A series of concussions kept Lee from making football a career, "the docs told me that the next hit could kill me, so I never played again."
But believe it or not, football, and Terry Bradshaw lead to all things bass for Lee.
"He took me out bass fishing and we came up on this huge school of fish and it was so exciting, exhilarating, that I knew, knew that this is what I wanted to do ... been doing it all my life after that."
A little while back Lee sold his business "and started to fish the B.A.S.S. opens for fun."
And through that he qualified to fish the Elites, "When they asked IF I wanted to join the tour, of course I said yes ... it's a dream come true."
When If 'n comes, Carpe Sominum.
Seize the dream.
As did quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
As did offensive tackle Lee Sisson.
"Yesterday is slowly fadin',
I been waitin', now forever, for this ride."