February 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I thought I might somehow be feeling nostalgic this year because in January 2012, Julie and I were in Kauai, Paradise for a vacation we had looked forward to for years. And though the trip exceeded our expectations I had almost forgotten about it with the non-stop drama this winter. Everyone was trying to tap into the race for the finish line that last week of the year. The Boys & Girls Club Tolleston project, which has been the focus of my 'spare time' for the last two years, hit a milestone by completing the demolition phase right around New Year's Eve. Now the fun can start: We're building the new club at last.

I was the sorriest sports nut in Chicago that the Blackhawks could not start the season on time, but it did leave plenty of time and energy to devote to my beloved Denver Broncos who kept it going long after anybody thought they could. (And I am no fair weather fan of my teams. I have attended more than one Chicago baseball game wearing a Rockies shirt.) I was determined to make a plan for New Orleans if they could hang in there until the end. Well, the Broncos did go out in a blaze of double-overtime glory. There was so much tension in the air that even our dog Jackson who is as good-natured a friend of man as could be, was becoming a nervous wreck. I had an outpouring of support from my online friends, who couldn't bear to look or look away from what was happening in the game. There is that perverse comfort in knowing the Broncos almost beat the Super Bowl XLVII Champion Ravens. After all, it could have gone the other way, and lessons learned this year are motivators for next year.

I am such relentless optimist, especially when it comes to sports, that within 12 hours I was already cheered up by the first match-ups for the trimmed down hockey season. The bright side for Julie was eliminating the obstacles—all that a trip to the Super Bowl would have entailed—to her getting her new granite counter tops.

Yet another silver lining presented itself for Super Bowl weekend. I got the chance to go fishing in one the largest reservoirs in the US at Lake Texoma, which is also one of the richest areas for recreational sports with two wildlife refuges, two state parks, 54 federal parks, 12 marinas, 26 resorts, a bunch of top-notch golf courses and hundreds of campgrounds. The area, located close enough to be accessible to Dallas-Fort Worth, gets millions of visitors a year and the growth in popularity of water sports there has been nothing short of phenomenonal.

I caught the four biggest fish (other than Marlin fishing) that I have caught ever including a 58-lber, 60-lber, 70-lber and a 95-lber. The 95-lber (catfish) was out of the water for about an hour and a half so they estimate that it lost between 3-4 pounds and probably came out of the water at around 98-99lbs. I guess I am living proof that amazing things can happen at Lake Texoma. (Take a look at the photos at, under the Travel section. You won't believe these catfish!)

We will be back in next month with a complete report on a range of personal adventures, from resorts to full-participation extreme sports.

Bill Masterson, Jr.




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