One winner. Fifty losers. No other BASS event puts so much weight, carries so much prestige, and can define one angler's career every year as the Classic.
Fans across the country and around the world remember Classic Champions for decades, yet few can recall those who finish second. Some of us remember that Aaron Martens finished second, like 53 times or something, but outside of him?
Fifty losers may be harsh, as everyone goes home from the Classic with a check; it's just that the first-place check is almost as big as second through 51st place combined.
The hardware is bigger too. Have you ever seen the Classic trophy up close and personal? It's wa-a-a-ay bigger.
Just qualifying for the Classic is a minor accomplishment in itself. Sure, you see some of the same guys there year in and year out, but don't think for a minute that it was a walk in the park for them to get there. Well ...that's not entirely true.
You'll hear guys say this week they are just happy to be here. Just happy to have qualified for the Classic. Just happy for the experience of fishing in the Classic; one of their lifelong dreams.
These may be Classic rookies or it may be Classic veterans. Good for them. I'm glad they made it and hope they have a great week. They better get out of the way, though, as there's a group of Classic anglers who have been there before and just fishing in the Classic is only a small part of their dream of actually winning the Classic.
These guys will run over you in a heartbeat (for all you literal types, they won't really run over you, as in run over, run over. It's just a figure of speech, deal with it) because they have their eye set on the prize. The Numero Uno prize.
As in any other sports event, the 51 anglers in the 2009 Classic aren't out there for the betterment of their fellow man. They're not out on the water seeking a cure for cancer or fighting to save the rainforest. None will be worried about being a role model come boat check early Friday morning.
Even those who are just happy to be there for the experience know that they are fishing for one thing the cash. The trophy. The ring. The title "Classic Champion".
Why else do we play a sport any sport? To win. If you're not playing to win, what are you doing?
For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his website at www.kfshort.com.