by randal Sumner
One of the things I love about life
and fishing is that you never really know how it will turn out. Oh sure you
have a plan, but luckily it rarly turns out that way. Most of the successful
people I know have acquired the skill of winging it, fly-fishing requires that
same ability to adjust and overcome conditions that are unexpected.
Which brings me to Ballroom Dancing.
This last winter was a long one for
me, fishing was not very good and there was no tropical respite it was just cold
and gray. I tried to get some painting done in the studio but there again I was
uninspired. Sometime in January my fellow troutbum Chrisís wife Barb talked to
my wife Liz about taking Ballroom dancing lessons. Women love this kind of
There conversation went something
like: would Randal take lessons? Thus shaming Chris into going along down road
of dancing lessons. Something he had said many times was out of the question.
Never say never.
The timing was perfect, at this point of the winter I was at my
lowest ebb and would have taken up small engine repair for something to do. I
mentioned the dancing lessons to Mark, he immediately burst out that he was on
board and with a weird kind of light in his eyes he said it would be fun. The
Troutbums were dancing.
The course was one night a week for
six weeks, how bad could that be? Hereís what I learned. One: I am not much of
a dancer; in fact there is no dancing in me. Two: It was really fun in a
frustrating sweaty kind of way. Three: Chris and Mark are like dancing savants.
Four: My wife is a saint. These are all good things for a grown man to know.
What I took away from the
experience is priceless. The instructors Jim and Nan were incredibly patient
and low key trying to get my concrete feet and wooden legs to find the steps: I
never could. On the last night as we were leaving Nan came up to me and told me
in a hushed voice, ďYou are a brave manĒ I leave the translation to you.
I find myself thinking about those
lessons when Iím in the boat with clients that canít seem to get seem to learn
how to cast a fly rod. I think about their frustration trying to get the timing
of the back cast, or throwing a little loop to extend a drift. Things that are
natural to me, lessons Iíve learned over time.
Will I be taking dancing lessons
next winter? Heck yes. Just the exercise in humility is worth the price of admission.