Not too long ago, my baseball season ended — falling just short of winning a state championship title. It was a heartbreaking loss in the State Finals to Sterling Heights Christian Parkway held at Michigan State University. Being from a small school in the small town of Portland, this was an amazing accomplishment! To put this into perspective, St. Patrick High School has a total of 89 students, 47 of them being guys. Along with baseball, I play basketball, run cross country, and play golf. However, these four activities do not match up to the love I have for the outdoors.
When I was 10 years old, I was given my first two guns: a .410 and a .22 long rifle. From that day on, my passion for the sport has only grown. Through my outdoor experiences, I have gained much respect for all wildlife. I am also a fisherman — a BIG fisherman. Anything from panfish to longnose gar to Steelhead. With nearly hauling in the state record longnose gar this summer (it popped off my hook at the side of the boat before we could get a picture, but we got the measurement…. 60 inches! (7″ more than the state record), my quest has only gotten greater. If it’s in the river, it’s on my rod. Like most fisherman, my pride trophy fish is bass. Living right next to the Grand River (the longest river in the state) it’s only fitting that I absorb all avenues of fishing. Along with using rod and reel, I bowfish for carp and redhorse suckers.
Being an outdoorsman, I have enjoyed passing this trait down to my 8 year old nephew. I gave him his first two guns two weeks ago, which were MY first guns. I also bought him his first fishing rod. Taking him squirrel hunting and bass fishing has given me the opportunity to share my passion and experiences. There’s no better feeling than that first jolt and then the drop in the rod tip, especially when it’s in the hands of a young boy. Being able to pull yourself away from the hustle and bustle of life is what I truly appreciate about the outdoors. Sitting back in peaceful silence watching nature do what it does best, that’s my love for the outdoors.
Graham Smith – YCC Member, Lyons MI