Help! I'm under the bus and I can't get up!

Beat the Elites?

When I heard about this "Beat the Elites" derby thing, a song suddenly jumped into my brain. A strange song, too. It was like one of those Barone-trip flashbacks. A Barone-esque, not-quite-real, not-quite-un-real out-of-body experience.

Peter Gabriel: "Shock the Monkey"

I have no idea why. It was just there. I have no idea what the song is about. I never did understand the song when it was a hit way back when. I have no clue if there is some subliminal, deep-rooted meaning to the song, its lyrics, the video (and it was a weird, freaky video) we watched all those years ago on MTV, or the tournament in question.

So this "Beat the Elites" tournament that's scheduled for the same Bat Time, same Bat Channel, and same Bat Lake as the Elite Series tournament on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, is this real you ask? As real as a Web site can make it I suppose. Check it out. Make their traffic meter go up on the Web site. They'll love that.

Shock the Monkey.

So someone else is organizing a tournament the same week as the "Big Boys" are in town. Why are we called the "Big Boys?" 'Have you ever wanted to fish against the "Best Bass Anglers in the World?" Now is your chance!' reads the opening line on the "Beat the Elites" site. Who wouldn't want to take a crack at KVD, Skeet, or Ike? Hell, I'd like to play a few rounds against Tiger, but I've never picked up a golf club in my life. Bet that wouldn't work out in my favor. I'd also take a shot at hitting a few off of John Smoltz or Mariano Rivera, but I'm not very handy with the hickory.

Shock the Monkey.

I have to admit that I've never really understood the line of thought that wanders along the twisted synapses of brain filaments that Joe Bass, sitting on his ass watching The Bassmasters on the television at the local tackle shop, is just as good as the guys he's watching on The Bassmasters. "Hell, I can catch that many fish. I'm just as good as that Hackney boy. I used to kick his ass every week when he lived 'round here" (I actually heard that come out of a man's mouth in a tackle store one day. No joke.).

Shock the Monkey.

"Well, Joe. Why aren't you up there on the TV instead of that big-headed Hackney boy?"

"I ain't had the breaks that he's had. Maybe."

I'm thinking Joe hasn't worked as hard, sacrificed as much, learned as much on the water, or wanted it as bad as that Hackney boy and many of the other Elite anglers. Maybe.

I'm thinking that Joe's pretty content to sit around the tackle shop and talk a big game instead of working on figuring out how to make his own "breaks" in the fishing world.

Seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite? Remember Uncle Rico? "Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind." If a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his butt.

A derby during the same week as the Elites is nothing new. We've dealt with those on Rayburn, Kentucky Lake, and other bodies of water over the course of the past few seasons. No big deal, as long as everyone acts their age.

Just because Dude has the same boat, same rods and reels, same Strike King Sexy Shad Series 5 crankbaits and same Sleepy Time Undies as KVD does not mean Dude is suddenly transformed into Kevin VanDam. It means Dude has the same boat, same rods and reels, same Strike King Sexy Shad Series 5 crankbaits and same Sleepy Time Undies as KVD. Period.

That's all it means. KVD thanks Dude for his support. Sincerely. He probably does not want Dude on the water, in his face, proving that he's KVD2.

Does that mean that Dude isn't really KVD2? Would that be KKVVDD? The next coming of the future Golden Boy of the Bass world? The Best Bass Angler on the Planet? Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Four days on Smith Mountain Lake in April will probably not prove or disprove his manliness.

If the organizers of this event truly want to put on a derby for guys to show up and "Beat the Elites", they need to be playing on the same field as the Elites. Sure, everyone would be fishing on the same body of water on the same days, but are we all playing by the same rules? How can you "beat" someone else at the same game if you are playing by different rules? That would be like playing catch in the parking lot of Yankee Stadium and saying you're as good as Jeter.

Shock the Monkey.

That's right, you see where I'm going with this: 30 days off limits, no info, no nets, 3 days of practice, same amount of time on the water every day and the list goes on. If you think you want to "Beat the Elites," then someone needs to read the Elite rules and the "Beaters" need to play by Elite rules. After all, if you're going to play by different rules, then you're just having a derby at the same time and the only people you're "beating" are yourselves.

Catchy title for the derby, though.

Shock the Monkey tonight.

For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his Web site at www.kfshort.com.