The masterful competitor…

Mon, Jun 16, 2008


The French and Czechoslovakian National Fly Fishing Teams have been dominating International Competitive Fly Fishing since its inception in the 1980s. It is often said in competitive fly fishing circles: “a Frenchmen or Czech will catch almost every fish in any stream at any time.” As a competitive fly fisherman in training this proposition constantly wanders through my consciousness. To think that an angler could have such a high level of skill is intriguing. I have always been attracted to strategic games of the mind though. For a long time it was chess. I admired the player who could sit down with any person at any time and plot a concise win. In a way, these examples of masterful competitors intrigued me so, because they exemplified the potential of the human “mind” to map and solve seemingly unsolve-able problem sets. For me, the Chess board has been replaced by the Trout Stream. Trout are my worthy opponent. Water is my moving board. Rod, Line, and Flies are my pieces. Insects, light, and waves are the signs. Apply the right sequence of pieces to a certain set of signs and a fish is your reward. Miss one of those components and your net stays dry. Long ago I dropped my pursuit of mastering Chess because I read a book that outlined the variables. It was staggering and I thought I could never achieve that in my lifetime. However, I have come to learn, over the years, that many great competitors are not massive number crunching processors. Instead, they work off of simple proposition statements that prove their hypothesis. They continually digest pertinent information and then, to some extent, forget it. Play for the masterful competitor is just that, “play.” It comes easy. It is natural. A “mind” at play is much more apt to transform to changing variables. The goal now, is to piece together the great fragments of my life. To play a single game called my “life.”

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