Column: Life is a big lesson

Published 3:16 pm Friday, May 21, 2021

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High school graduates and up-and-coming students, life has one of the steepest learning curves for driving, sewing, singing or cleaning fish.

Young minds frequently want to go do rather than sit and watch the experienced people show them how to do things.

It is easy to watch someone experienced perform a task they have done a million times and think ‘I can do it just like them.’ It can be frustrating when you hit the first hurdle and trip. I speak from experience, as do the cuts on my fingers from a fillet knife.

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Here are some of my thoughts as I mongered the fish. The first one was filleted badly, and I wanted to give up.

One day you will be doing something for the first time without your dad, mom, grandparent or uncle there to show you what to do. Just breathe a deep breath and calm yourself.

Consider your approach. Maybe it is the way you are attacking a situation that is giving you issues. For me, the first mistake was because I had my fish in an uncomfortable cutting position. It is a lot like when you are playing basketball. We all have slightly different shot styles. As long as you stick to the basics, you will be okay if you do what is comfortable for you.

Consider your goals and how you measure success. In golf, you always want to play the best round possible. Setting a goal of looking like Tiger Woods on the course is too ambitious if you are starting out.

Instead, focus on improvement. Always try to be better than you are the first time you try something. My third and fourth fish fillets were a heck of a lot better than the first, not to mention my hands were injury-free for once.

Persevere, despite blood trickling down your fingers, sweat dripping off your face and frustration building. They say Rome was not built in a day, and neither are the people we consider to be great. A great golfer, fisherman, hunter, football player, runner or weightlifter had to overcome at one point in their life.

Perhaps you have to overcome the disappointment of finally cutting a perfect fillet only to botch the following one. Or if you are a golfer, hitting a perfect tee shot and then shanking your approach. Collect yourself and stay calm.

Lessons come as you walk off the course, field or away from the cutting board. I learned the hard way it is easier to scale fish before you fillet them and not afterward.

If I had not made that mistake, I would not have known for the next time I fillet fish. Always be willing to learn and be coachable, it’s how you get better.


Hunter Cloud is a sports reporter for The Natchez Democrat.