At the start of the NFL season, Colin Kaepernick, the sort-of-quarterback for the San Francisco ’49s made headlines when he decided to kneel in protest of racial injustice and police brutality. Recently the ’49ers presented him with an “inspirational and courageous” play award in recognition of his efforts. I always have and always will stand during the playing of the National Anthem, but I must admit that at one point in my life I had an issue regarding that song. Mr. Brown probably remembers.

You see, in addition to being my 5th grade home room teacher, Mr. Browne was many things. He was imposing, well over six feet tall with a build and demeanor that reminded me of John Wayne. He was an ex-combat Marine and imposing enough to scare the scat out of everyone, kids in particular. One day he separated me from the rest of my 5th grade class and I remained after school. “It” was going to hit the fan.

Who knows what prompted him to pull me aside? Lord knows it could have been any of a number of things. But while I was worried about him, the trickle-down effect was staggering. I’d be late to football practice, which meant I’d have to run laps when we were done. Because I was running laps, I’d be late to do my chores. Then I’d be late for dinner, homework, and everything else that lead up to bedtime prayers. Simply put, I was screwed.

He got right to the point.

“Son,” he said.

“Yes sir?”

“You know the National Anthem?”

“Yes sir.”

“From now on sing it softly. You sound like a crow.”

“Yes sir.”

“Dismissed.”

“Thank you, sir.”

 

The author may not can sing, but he can shoot. And that's about as patriotic as it gets.

The author may not can sing, but he can shoot. And that’s about as patriotic as it gets.

 

Perhaps that’s the reason I never gravitated much to music, preferring to read and write. But when it’s time for the National Anthem or a hymn in church, I always sing.

I just tone it down real low for my neighbor’s sake.

The fact that I can read about Colin Kaepernick’s latest antics is sort of a mixed bag. The interesting thing about technology is that it can provide information about just about anything we want. We can watch movies, get the news, check sports scores, and even chart the weather. When I finish a brief read about a foolish award, I flip the URLs and fuel my sporting fire.

 

Sporting Classics' Brian Raley with a big buck from 2016.

Sporting Classics’ Chuck Wechsler with a big Michigan buck taken in 2016.

 

Where else can you get up-to-the-minute fishing conditions, many of which are delivered from an on-the-water location? Topo maps and charts, on which I still rely, are augmented by satellite images. I can find new duck marshes, bird covers, and entrance and exit spots to fishing spots. I’ve bought a number of new firearms online, each offered by shops and people who live far, far from my home.

Sure, you can get dragged down into a bunch of Internet nonsense, but that’s only if you let it. Instead, we can surround ourselves with a community even if it doesn’t exist nearby. Add social media and we are connected with like-minded sportsmen with whom we share stories, fishing trips, and hunts. Occasionally we meet some, while other times they are digital pen pals.

 

The author's wife, Angela, and her catch of the day. Social media has its downsides, but sharing this catch with far-away friends isn't one of them.

The author’s wife, Angela, and her catch of the day. Social media has its downsides, but sharing this fish with faraway friends isn’t one of them.

 

Those kinds of relationships are different from hunting or fishing with a childhood friend, but so are a lot of other things these days. When I take a break during the work day, I can see fish pictures, dog pictures, and enormous whitetails, like the ones shot by Sporting Classic’s Chuck Weschler, Brian Raley, and Ryan Stalvey. There are pictures of 6×6 elk and stringers of waterfowl. For me, it’s a lot more pleasant than idle chitchat by the watercooler.

Back in the 1990’s when technology was originally deployed, it was sold to us as a way to increase efficiency. The result of that increased productivity was that we would be able to shorten our work weeks and have more time to live. That goal has not been reached, and instead we’re even more connected now than we ever have been. So if we’re going to be tied in to the electronic box, we might as well weed out the mundane and replace it with the good.

Like Sporting Classics Daily, which I’ll surf through right now.

 

Who knew that esteemed field trial judge, dog trainer, and hunting guide Roger Hoover also loves to fish?

Who knew that esteemed field trial judge, dog trainer, and hunting guide Roger Hoover also loves to fish?

What do you do in between wedding obligations? You catch striped bass, of course.

What do you do in between wedding obligations? You catch striped bass, of course.

Low tide during a sea duck hunt means one thing: no water, no birds. It also means oysters for a creative sportsman.

Low tide during a sea duck hunt means one thing: no water, no birds. It also means oysters for a creative sportsman.

All puffed up and nowhere to go.

All puffed up and nowhere to go.

 

 

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