Learning To Eat My Words

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I've eaten crow and it doesn't taste too bad.

My healthy dose of the feathered flier was dished up March 12 while watching the Chevy Open bass tournament on Fox Sports Net television.

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Clifford Pirch has become one of the top bass fishermen on the professional tours.

Featured on the program was Payson professional angler Clifford Pirch who years ago was a student of mine in an algebra class I was teaching.

Clifford was an honor roll pupil and a pleasure to have in the classroom.

But anyone who knew him understood his first love was fishing, not algebra.

I clearly remember on one occasion, during a lull in class time, Clifford was sitting at the back of the room talking bass fishing to custodian Jerry Jonas, who was also an avid angler.

Hearing the talk between the two of crankbaits, spinning reels, jigs, drop shot weights and live wells, instead of integers, quadratic formula, substitution method and linear equations, I doled out to Clifford what I mused as stupendous guidance.

"Forget that fishing and concentrate on doing your algebra," I said. "Fishing is not going to help you earn a living. Your math will."

That askew counsel was the main course in the crow blue plate I dined on Sunday morning.

In the Chevy Open, Clifford fished his way to a sixth place finish and a healthy paycheck of about $27,000.

Yep, thousands of dollars for a day of fishing.

He's currently ranked 22nd among the 200 plus anglers on the FLW tour with earnings of about $40,000. With several more FLW tournaments and other professional outings on the pro tour, Clifford is almost a sure bet to rake in even more big money wins.

Watching him fish on national TV, I thought, "What was it I told him? You can't make a living fishing?"

Wow, was I off base.

As important as the paycheck is, Clifford is doing something he loves and has a passion for.

Too many in our society trudge to work each day doing jobs for which they have no zeal or enthusiasm.

Clifford is not one of those. He's living his dream.

18-holers kick off

The Payson Women's Golf Association 18-hole group will host its annual kick off brunch at 9 a.m. March 28 at the new restaurant in the old Mad Dawg's location on Main Street, which promises to be open by then.

Players interested in joining the PWGA are invited to attend the brunch and learn more about the organization. Reservations can be made by calling Dorothy Meek at (928) 474-9670.

Goin' bow fishing

The Tackle Box will host a free bowfishing seminar beginning at 9 a.m. March 25 at the store, located one mile south of Punkin Center.

Instructors will be Jimmy Ridge and Scott Darnell. Activities include demonstrations, equipment displays and hands-on bowfishing at Roosevelt Lake after the seminar.

More details about the event will be featured in the Outdoors Under the Rim column in the March 17 edition of the Payson Roundup.

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