Over the course of the last month, Beckett has been counting down to this week’s White Marlin Open.
Last year he got spoiled because he was given an inside perspective on how the tournament functions at the scales at Harbour Island Marina. He was able to touch many of the fish weighed and took a couple selfies with a white marlin. He even was able to climb to the top of the scale and help weigh a dolphin fish. It was something he will never forget and talks about often.
Expectations can be a dangerous thing, especially if they are too high. I didn’t want him to be disappointed if all those opportunities did not present themselves this year. Therefore, I cautioned him we were fortunate to be able to come to the event again, and I didn’t want him to get worked up if he couldn’t do all the cool things he did last year. He assured me he would not, but I had my doubts.
When we got to the marina, it rained hard, leading him to ask about his rain jacket’s whereabouts. I dropped the ball on that, but it will be one of those instances when stories begin, “remember that time it was pouring rain, you forgot my jacket and we saw a huge blue marlin get weighed.”
The hoisting of a 465.5-pound blue marlin was definitely the highlight of this trip to the tournament. It was the biggest fish he had ever seen in person and he marveled over the color and design. At one point, he came up to me in rude fashion and interrupted a conversation I was in. He wouldn’t comply with any of my requests to wait a minute. He had to get out what was on his mind. He grabbed me by the hand and brought me closer to the fish, “have you ever seen a more beautiful color of blue? It’s just so beautiful.”
He then grabbed my phone and began taking selfies of himself. We were about six feet away from the mammoth fish but that didn’t bother him. Later I saw he took about 22 different shots from different angles and poses, from celebratory and jubilant to sad and depressed. He does seem destined for the stage at this point in his life.
Along with watching the fish being weighed in, especially those of the huge “beautiful” type, one of his favorite things at the tournament is visiting Mrs. Jill at Park Place Jewelers’ tent at the tournament. He always asks what is the most expensive thing they have and he must see it. He then launches into his best persuasive argument as to why he should have this ring or that watch, why his mom would really love this diamond marlin necklace and how I need a marlin money clip. He’s generous, almost philanthropic, when it comes to my money.
While at the tournament, he also likes to eat. He has not found the love of fish sandwiches yet, so I couldn’t talk him into my favorite, tuna. A hot dog and a cheeseburger were more to his liking. My 11-year-old felt “too full” afterwards, of course.
Another one of his favorite things to do at the tournament is ask questions. He got a receptive ear at the weigh station from one of the dock hands. He learned the female blue marlin are considerably larger than their males. While they have been caught at more than 1,900 pounds, the blue marlin we saw was considered just average when it comes to sportfishing. Last year there was an 881-pound blue marlin caught and it was worth $924,000.
When Beckett heard there was money on the line, he begged me to enter us next year. I didn’t have the heart to tell him how much it cost to participate. I’m hopeful he will just forget, but come next July I’m sure he will remember because he doesn’t forget anything unless it has to do with homework.
On the way out of the tournament, he likes to visit the little boy selling lemonade every year near the entrance and exit to the host marina. This year the boy stepped up his game with a nice marlin shaped sign with the letters “Marlinade.” Every single guest I saw let the kid keep the change. When it came to paying our $3 tab, Beckett wanted me to give him a $20. We compromised on a $10. The kid’s entrepreneurial spirit was worth a little generosity.
Of course, it would not be this year’s White Marlin Open without mentioning Michael Jordan, who was a registered angler on his own boat. Beckett was worried he would not be able to see him amid the crowds. I assured him if he was there we would know about it because of his height. It was not to be, but another fun outing at his favorite fishing tournament.
For most people, ordering a pizza for dinner is an easy out.
That’s not so much the case for us. With Carson being gluten- and dairy-free, it’s not as simple as just dialing up your favorite pizza delivery service.
Carson’s pizza can only come from one place locally that we know of – Piaza, which offers gluten-free crust and dairy-free cheese. Beckett only likes “soft and puffy” cheese pizza and Pam and I like thin crust pizza.
The end result is $50 worth of pizza once every couple months. It’s just too complicated.