As a tournament director, the most important part of my job is understanding and instilling integrity.
Waypoints: A Time for Everything
Learning to fish and live life
by Geremy Olson
WayPoint: Doing what is right comes with a cost. The cost may be relationships, financial loss, a position or status in the short term.
Looking back on my childhood, I think it could be fair to say I had a handful of events that made life easier as an adult. It would also be an accurate statement that most people would do almost anything to keep their kids away from these situations. Whether you like it or not, everyone is going to be put in positions as a kid that our parents aren’t going to have control over or ever know about. What parents can do is demonstrate and teach integrity which is doing what is right no matter the cost or whether someone is watching or not.
As a kid who struggled in school, I was tempted to do whatever it took to fit in. Having some talent on the football field helped a little, but wasn’t enough to get me into the in crowd. I fell back on my one true love, the outdoors.
It was the time I spent hunting and fishing that I learned life was not fair in a healthy way. It’s on the water where you can practice your craft the best you know how and still go home empty handed and the next trip out do everything wrong and go home with a limit.
In high school I enjoyed fishing local ice fishing tournaments. One of my favorites was less than twenty gravel miles from my house. The event was put on by the local bar and as tourneys went was a lot of fun the first year. The trouble for me started the second year when the officials stopped by to check lines and see how things were going. All was good until they asked what kind of beer I wanted. I responded that I was only fifteen and couldn’t have any. “Nonsense” was their response. I insistently refused and asked them to leave. A couple hours later I heard some noise outside of the ice house. When I walked outside to investigate, I found that they left a six pack on my truck in plain view. All sorts of thoughts and questions started going through my head.
It was only gravel roads home, who would ever know; it was only a six pack. What if the game warden who knows I’m fifteen years old stops by? My classmates drink all the time. Who would know out here? Will I get in trouble if I bring it home and give it to Dad? What will they do if I give it back?
There are a lot of justifications we can come up with to feel better about a situation we are in but does that make it right? I made some decisions that day. I stood my ground and lost a lot of “fishing friends” because of my actions. This was tough for me because I didn’t have a dad that fished, so I gave up some information sources (in people) that I thought I needed at the time.
The reality of the decisions I made that day were hard. I still remember the goosebumps and the chills I had as I retuned that six pack. I also remember all the adults that told me that doing the right thing is always easy. Well that wasn’t true. Doing the right thing that day was hard, it was embarrassing. It was that day that I first started to learn how hard it is to be gracious and not judgmental while doing the right thing.
Over the years I have learned that most of those fishing sources were cheating, or breaking the rules at the least, and I am better off for taking a stand that day. None of us make the right decisions all the time, but as an adult I am known for my hard work and integrity which wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t do what was right when I was confronted with a situation like I did on the ice that day when I was a kid.
Doing what is right comes with a cost. The cost may be relationships, financial loss, a position or status in the short term. But doing the right thing is an investment in the future that always leads to integrity.
(Geremy Olson grew up in the outdoors. After being burned as a volunteer firefighter, he had to figure out how to teach outdoor skills to his children from a wheelchair while learning to walk. Today he is an inspirational speaker, FCA Outdoors volunteer, tournament director, video producer, wildfire consultant and proud father of the owners of Missouri Secrets Tackle. GOspeaks.live)