Oceans For Emotions: Fishing for an Olympic gold medal
"Know ye not that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize? So, run that ye may obtain."
- I Corinthians 9:24
As I was lying on the couch, watching the Olympics forever, I must have dozed off because I had a vision. The Olympic Committee had just added a new competition called "Seaside Fishing for contestants over 75 years old."
I had entered and marched in the Olympic opening ceremony wearing my Olympic uniform: red U.S.A. shirt, blue fish hat and my white shrimp boots. I felt like every camera in the coliseum was snapping my picture, since I was the only one from the United States to enter this new event. I could feel the pressure entering into my old bones as I carried in the United States flag, tied to my 12-foot casting rod.
The next morning at dawn, they took all of the contestants in a double-decker bus to the nearest saltwater. When the sun came up, the fishing competition began. First, the contestants had a race to see who could tie the most slip knots in two minutes, for this we were awarded points.
Then, we had to gather together for the next race. We had to gather all of our fishing equipment and stand in our best racing start and run 25 yards to our designated fishing area. What a thrill just to stand on some sand with red, white and blue colors marked on it.
I was leading in points after those first two events, but next came the fisherman's discus throw as we got out our casting nets and had three attempts to make the perfect cast. On my first one, I scratched and stepped into the ice-cold English waters and then still had to empty my white Magnolia Beach Nike boots. The second throw landed like a wad of bubble gum, and I had to pull it back as soon as I could. The third cast was just OK. So, I lost some points just on the casting net, and that put me back until I was tied with the other fisherman, and the gold medal may just slip away.
Finally, in this next fishing event, it came time to fish, and the winner would be the fisherman or woman who brought in the first legal flounder and held it up for the judges to see. I noticed that all of the other old contestants threw out as far as they could to catch their flounder. I prayed to God and hit my chest and pointed upwards, and my Lord who has fished with me so many times whispered in my ear, "Elaine, fish closer in and cast more times." I started fan fishing 12 feet out from me, and on the third drag in, I felt that familiar feeling of my flat fish just kissing the bait before he takes it. I stopped reeling, and he took it hard and I reeled him the rest of the way in, and ran the 25 yards up to the judges' stand with the music from "Chariots of Fire" playing in my heart. I held it above my head, and the judges all recorded that the United States was the gold medalist.
On the medalist stand that night, as I leaned over for the judge to put a Gold Medal Flounder around my neck, I promised to wear it every day.
Dear Lord, help us to run every part of our lives as if we are trying to run the race you have set before us. Help us not forget that in that final day you will judge us; so help us to be winners now.