Wednesday, October 28, 2015

True Leadership Requires Sacrifice

Note:  I wrote this a couple of weeks ago now and it appeared in the local paper.  The Jays came back and won the ALDS and then lost to Kansas in the ALCS.  The Habs won 9 games in a row while Kevin Harvick is still in the Chase while Kenseth is out.  Leadership is not something that can easily be learned, it has to be earned and maintained.  Many say it is a gift and they might be right. Enjoy.

It is one of my favorite times of year.  Hockey season has started, NASCAR is down to the Chase, and the Majors are into the playoffs.  My wife despises it, as we debate how long I can sit in front of the TV or how many channels I can watch at once. As I watch all these elite sporting events, I am always in awe of how elevated the personalities become when the pressure is on.

For example, take this past Sunday's NASCAR race in Dover.  Kevin Harvick was in a must win situation in order to advance to the next round of the Chase.  In true Harvick fashion, he pulls off the victory and advances to the next round of the Chase.  Throughout the race he was calm, cool, and collected and when it was over, he was already focused on the next race.

Speaking of calm, cool, and collected, the undisputed leader of the Montreal Canadiens is Carey Price.  As a goalie he is called on to make big saves and when you play on a team that relies heavily on defence, like the Canadiens, he has to make lots of saves in some games.  Realizing how important the first game of the season can be, Price made two big saves in the third period to lead the Canadiens to victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

So now I move to the Blue Jays.  Josh Donaldson, and I'll throw Jose Bautista in there too, are the leaders of the Jays.  In the first game of the playoffs though, they left the game early instead of playing through some pain.  I know I'm going to take some slack for this, but as the leaders of that team, it looked like they gave up early.  If it was me and I was in that situation, there was no way I'd want to leave the game.  Now I realize they may have been injured more than I realize so I'll give them the benefit of doubt. I hope this is not a sign of things to come in this playoff series though.  When your leaders don't elevate their game, it makes it hard for the rest of the team to elevate.  That being said, sometimes it gives someone new an opportunity to step up and Encarnacion looked really good today.

If Kevin Harvick stumbled then Jamie McMurray might be racing in the second round of the Chase.  If Carey Price had come out flat then the Leafs start the season off on a better foot.  If Donaldson and Bautista stay in the game, even if they still lose, it shows their teammates they are fighting and encourages someone else to elevate their game even further and sets a better mood for game two.  Just so you know, I'm proudly Canadian and therefore I am cheering for the Jays and hope they can overcome the challenges in front of them.

A team stands a much better chance of coming together when the leaders go to bat for the team.  If the leader doesn't go to bat, chances are the team will fall apart or the leadership will quickly change.  Go Jays Go.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Making an Ecological Difference

I'm an angler, a hiker, a camper, and adventurer but even more than
that, I love nature.  As a kid I used to love to play in mud puddles and
would create drainage channels for them and I always wanted them to
look like a mini stream.  Fast forward to my job to today and I have
been fortunate enough to gain employment as a Project Manager for a
watershed organization.  This is a job I have been able to sink my teeth
into for 8 years.  The Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee
works hard at creating sustainable solutions to the regions ecological
problems.  The group has completed numerous riparian and flood plain
enhancement projects through its 20+ years of work.  In 2014 I managed a
project where we used georolls as a bank stabilization tool and then
planted the site with native trees and shrubs to improve overall
ecological health.  We've created a short video of the project check it

See you in the woods or on the water.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Last Season Change of Scenery

This entry was actually printed weeks ago in the Kings County Record and I apologize for not posting more blogs lately but it is tough for me to find a balance between writing, working, and playing so I have something to write about.  Maybe work and writing should be considered just one if I truly want to blog more??  Hope you enjoy.

It is all over.  It went by in a flash.  Before it was over I t was able to send it off with a bang…or maybe more of a blub.  The season finale was similar to my season opener in the fact that I was out with the same wingman.  Like the season premier I was relying heavily on my wingman on making the season send off a success.  Oh in case you didn't figure it out, fishing season ended September 15th and before it past Robin Doull and I made it out on the river one last time.

I would typically fish a river by wading and casting a fly line looking for trout.  Robin had been trying to get me out in a kayak targeting some bigger fish for quite some time.  With warm water the trout needed a break so I took Robin up on some smallmouth bass fishing off Darlings Island from my kayak.  (Note: The smallmouth bass season actually doesn't end until October 30th) 

We didn't get an early start but the day was overcast and not overly warm so we we're hoping the fish would be active.  This would be my first time casting lures from a kayak in hopes of catching a bass or pike.  I was unsure as I cast my lure out a number of times as I let the kayak drift down the river.  Suddenly I watched as a couple of perch chased my lure towards the kayak. 

From my seat in the kayak I was amazed at how far down I could see into the water column.  It was cool to watch fish chase my lure and made the anticipation of catching a fish more exciting.  Robin was rewarded first as he landed two fish before I hooked one.  Ironically I didn't even see my first perch take my lure as it took the hook well away from my craft.  The fact that I had to reel it in some distance meant that the modest size perch had a chance to pull my kayak for a bit.  I snickered as I thought about my drag setting on my reel; I guess it wouldn't have to be set to tight.

I landed a small smallmouth bass before landing my biggest fish of the day, another smallmouth.  It was fun to watch the fish jump a number of times and to hear my reel whine a bit as it pulled my boat around and downstream at a surprising pace.  I laughed as I finally got the fish to my kayak and unhooked it from my Rapala lure.  It took no time for it to dive deep back into the channel after I let it go.

The leisurely pace which we floated down the river was enjoyable and it possibly had a negative impact on my casting rate so I was not able to catch as many fish as Robin.  That is my story at least and I'm sticking to it.  Before long Robin landed a pickerel and once again I had to bow to his superior tactics.  As I was bowing to take a photo of him and his catch my camera went blub.  I dropped it in more than 10ft of water and even though it was a waterproof camera, I didn't think I could find it so there it lies along with the photos I had from the day.

As noon rolled around we decided to call it a day and started the paddle back up river to our take out point.  The wind was light and in our face so the paddle back up was a bit different but no less pleasant that the trip down the river.  I struggled with my desire to cast the lure out a few more times but I had a conference call early in the afternoon so I kept paddling.

It was a great way to end the fishing season and I hope that next season I can expose a few more people to a similar experience.  Until then I'll start planning my ice fishing trip.

See you in the woods or on the water.