August, 2006. I was on the road to my new start – my new life.
I was alone.
I loved it. I continued to love my selfish lifestyle for the next 7 years.
I was on a mission to focus all my energy on my one goal of becoming a professional angler. My nights were long – my mind toiling over how much I craved success, and how bad I wanted it to happen. Now!
My days were longer. I spent every available moment on the water, desperately trying to make up for lost time during my high school years.
Now, things are different. I am no longer alone in my journey.
I no longer stay up at night thinking about my own future. Now I have another to think about as well.
On March 27, 2014, I got engaged to my best friend, Katie.
Temporarily Dampened Focus
I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I told you my focus on tournament fishing has been as strong as I’d like in the last 2 years. It hasn’t, and I've expressed that concern in recent columns.
When Katie and I started dating, I must admit, I found it difficult to keep the fire burning for fishing as hot as it had been. It’s not Katie’s fault, and it’s not that my passion for fishing was any less. I think that’s just what happens when you find the person you know is "the one."
Now, after getting on one knee and presenting a ring to my fiancée, I have experienced a sense of eagerness to get back on track with my progress in my career.
That's not to say that I won't continue to spend more and more time with my wife-to-be, but I am excited about finding a balance between family time and time for my passion (career).
Fishing for Two (and Then Some)
I’ve seen it with many friends within and outside of the sport of tournament bass fishing, where getting “hitched” and starting families can cause them to seek out more, well, “practical” employment and career paths.
Luckily for Katie and I, we both know that it would be futile for me to even think about pursuing a different career path. I love the sport too much and still cannot imagine myself doing anything different.
I know that I would never sacrifice our relationship, or our future family’s best interests, for my own, but at least both of us also believe that going after my dreams with all my energy is best for us in the long run.
This is why the next few years are going to be so important in my progression. While Katie is still going to school in California, and I’m still working my way to the tour level, this period is the perfect time to put the throttle down and keep moving forward at the pace I set while in college.
The Perfect One
I don’t know how things work out so well for me.
I’ve been very fortunate with many aspects of my life. I have a passion that I pursue with reckless abandon. I have family and friends who are supportive of that passion. I have sponsors that allow me to afford to pursue that passion. Now, I have a wonderful fiancée who not only supports me, but also has started to really love and appreciate the sport as well.
Many people have told me that fishing will take a back seat, and it will be hard to focus once you are married. Honestly, I have found that now that Katie and I find ourselves thinking about our future, I have twice as much motivation to keep my eye on my prize.
Excuse me. Our prize.
(Miles "Sonar" Burghoff, a graduate of the University of Central Florida and the winner of the 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, chronicles his quest toward becoming a tour-level angler in his Sonar Sound-Off column. To visit his website, click here. You can also visit him on Facebook and Twitter.