Saturday, late morning, I was preparing my truck to leave to go fishing, loading up the waders and boots, and adding the flies I tied over the week to my fly boxes. I checked my extra pair of socks and my foot warmers. Having numb feet gets old pretty quickly! 

I was excited to fish in the snow and get some good photos for my blog.  There is something about fishing in the snow that makes me feel like I’ve earned each fish to the net even more. I had a slow deliberate pace to my preparation.  I wanted to be prepared for the cold conditions.  

I said goodbye to my wife and hit the road.  As usual, I started to daydream and get into a contemplative state as I drove into Pennsylvania.  Looking back into 2020, it was a difficult year and my family and I were very fortunate. We all remained safe, healthy, and employed. A song came on the radio that caught my attention: “Starting Over” by Chris Stapleton

The song has a calm and hopeful vibe with a lyric that struck me: “…nobody wins afraid of losing.” I ended up looking up the song and listening to it several times as I approached the Yellow Breeches. The lyric was a reminder to me of being proud of overcoming my fear of sharing my personal thoughts through my blog.  I also hesitated to share because I felt like an imposter about sharing my observations on fly fishing. After all, I definitely don’t feel like an expert. Writing my blog over 2020 ended up being a bright spot and cathartic exercise in a stressful year. 

If I was too afraid to lose, I would not have started my blog, and I may not have started to fly fish years ago. Here is the section of the song that most inspires me:    

“Starting Over” by  Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson

This might not be an easy time

There’s rivers to cross and hills to climb

Some days we might fall apart

And some nights might feel cold and dark

When nobody wins afraid of losing

And the hard roads are the ones worth choosing

Some day we’ll look back and smile…

On December 23, 2019, I posted my first blog on FlyFIshMend. Starting on January 19, 2020 I began writing and posting blogs each week. This is my 51st blog since that first blog.  I started with a backlog of ideas, and in the few few months, I transitioned to jotting down ideas through the week, fine-tuning an idea on Saturday (sometimes into Sunday), and completing my blog each Sunday. Each week I was starting over to generate new ideas and articulate my message.  My wonderfully supportive wife has helped me review and edit each post, unless I was working too late into the night. 

The habit and pressure to finish the post has helped me to develop discipline and commitment to myself. I’ve gained connections to supportive people in the fly fishing industry and learned so much. Each effort and connection has improved my confidence and my appreciation of my life. Prior to starting the blog, I was reluctant to share my ideas on fly fishing publically, feeling like my input as a novice angler wasn’t worth sharing.  In 2020, my blogs were read over a thousand times and people in 5 countries have read my blogs. That is humbling.  

The blog has helped me improve my ability to observe and communicate. Perspectives from folks like Jason Shemchuk from WadeOutThere whose motto is Go. Learn. Teach. has helped me to expand my observations and confidence to share. Steve and Dave from Two Guys and a River also provide inspiration and guidance for my fishing and my blog. Support from Scott Major at PA Woods N Water and Mike Slep at Tight Lining MD has encouraged me to keep working to improve.  

As I look toward 2021, I am going to continue my weekly blog, and I want to write a draft of a book by the end of the year. I am facing the same fears of doubting my value and my effort.  Facing that fear and knowing that the effort is its own reward is what I’m holding on to. Each one of us has something unique and valuable to share. I urge each of you to let go of the fear of losing and commit to the effort and belief to win.  As Chris Stapleton sings, “the hard roads are the ones worth choosing, someday we’ll look back and smile.” Bring on 2021!

5 Replies to “Nobody Wins Afraid of Losing”

  1. Hi Scott! I really appreciate your blogs. They help me learn from other perspectives and realize one view can be seen or understood in so many different ways.
    Risks are a part of life where we all face hard decisions, some worth the choice to go forward, some to reconsider, but whatever choice we choose, there’s something to be learned. Learning is growth, even if it was not a positive outcome. I love learning, learning about things, about myself, about others, about the world, about God, about feelings, about life. Life is difficult, life is a process where many times we’re unsure of choices and sometimes it’s scary to make the choices you’re unsure of, but they’re the choices I feel you grow and learn the most from. I feel as long as the choice isn’t truly dangerous to myself or others, I try to approach it with optimism. I know that’s easier said than done, but if you allow yourself to accept whatever outcome follows, I think we able to grow in knowledge and confidence for further hard decisions that life is full of. We have to realize that success and failure is just part of everyday life, that success is usually short lived and failure is not the end of the world.
    I feel life, love and happiness are worth the risk of trying to live to our fullest.

    1. Thanks Scott! As usual your comments are uplifting and you are full of optimism. Every time I watch one of your videos I feel energized. I appreciate your support and your work!

  2. So many positive ideas! Sharing them with us has been something I look forward to each week!
    I can see why the song resonated with you! The words have an encouraging message!
    You also bring together many aspects of your life in a way that moves forward. Not just what has happened or is happening but wise words for the future!
    Something like our Church’s mission phrase – Gather, Grow and Go!
    I am looking forward to the book!

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