Let’s revisit our prior discussion about facts (see my blog post from 10/27). It seems the EBA crew wants to put a spin on truth . . . again. Grab a cup of coffee, this will be a long one!
Two days after I posted our 2015 schedule on our website (10/30 at 12:30pm), an EBA leader posts the EBA schedule on their Facebook page. Now let’s examine his post which was dated 2 days later (11/1 at 7:46 pm.). Isn’t it strange it begins nearly verbatim as my MRA blog from two days earlier? Hmmm.
Next, let’s read his post for exactly what it says: “I have just signed the Right of Entry form for our 2015 year as of 10/28/2014”. If he “just signed it” that would mean he signed it just before his posting of that message. Or, it could mean he just signed it, but dated it for the 28th of October. However, the statement as written cannot be literally truthful. Either one of those could be true, but not both. For those of you who have taken some Psych courses or watch Sherlock Holmes and/or The Mentalist, you know how the miniscule details often slip out and reveal the real story. But it really makes no difference in this instance. Why?
Fact #1 - MRA filed first. Because the MRA submitted their request for 2015 dates on August 18th, before the EBA submitted their dates. I know this because one of their committee members told me when they were meeting to discuss dates for 2015. Further, this committee member was informed that MRA had already submitted for dates. So the EBA knew dates had already been selected.
Fact #2 - Instead of asking for our dates and working around our schedule (as the MRA has done for many years – I’ll address that issue later), the EBA leadership decided to submit a schedule and did nothing to avoid a scheduling conflict. This was done without regard to the 13 or so of their teams who fish both groups. I can only presume they did this intentionally to force people to choose one group over the other. Likely, some will choose the MRA, some the other. That choice is up to the individual. The problem is the EBA is forcing them to choose instead of working towards a solution. The sad part is that when one member common to both clubs pointed out the schedule conflict, the EBA response was not one of “we’ll work it out”, it was “if you want to change your dates help your self” (misspelling in quote intentionally not corrected). What a nice attitude! The EBA has not taken and, by the tenor of the posts, is not willing to take any steps to try to work amicably with the MRA.
Fact #3 – After the 1st year the EBA formed, some of their leadership approached me and asked if I would be willing to alternate years for setting the schedule first. I agreed and they submitted first the following year. However, the year after that, they once again submitted their schedule prior to ours. Each year they submitted their schedule earlier and earlier.
Now some people would ask, “Why did you allow that to continue?” Well, if the EBA would allocate a set number of weeks between tournaments and account for the interruption of holidays so each group could take turns holding events, it really doesn’t matter who goes first. And with MRA choosing second, we could guarantee that tournaments wouldn’t overlap and you wouldn’t have some people interfering with one tournament while trying to practice for another. (To accomplish this takes some thought and consideration – that’s why I allowed it. I knew most years I could figure it out - although it was impossible this year) For my money, they couldn’t plan a successful trip to the outhouse let alone figure out how to schedule a tournament season between two clubs on three reservoirs. That’s just my opinion though. (Sorry for taking the dig, but I’m a bit upset)
This year (2014) the EBA forced us to fish a miserable schedule which included three tournaments in a four week period. So the MRA committee decided to schedule first figuring it would finally open a line of communication from which we could build on in the future. Obviously not working, huh? The sad truth is that if the other group would work with the MRA instead of against us we could set the schedules in a single meeting for decades at a time and there would never be any interference or problem. Fact!
Fact #4 – The EBA schedule will have to be changed anyway. That’s right, despite what they may publicly and smugly say at this time, they have not followed the rules of Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks which state that only 2 tournaments may be scheduled on Loch Raven between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The city may have given a right of entry, but that doesn’t mean that the county has to allow it. Two years ago they broke this rule but I didn’t bring it to anyone’s attention - but I’m not letting it go this time. Sorry guys you ticked me off this time, pick another day! One other date that will probably be changed on their schedule that won't be changed - September 6th. It's Labor Day. Unless the city has decided to change their past history of not allowing Right of Entries to be issued on national holiday weekends, that date will end up being changed as well.
Fact #5 - The EBA has a history of not getting their stuff quite right. Two times before they tried to schedule a tournament on June 15th, that’s one day before the opening of non-tidal black bass season. Oops! Sounds familiar to the 2 tournaments between Memorial Day and Labor Day rule, huh?
And how many times this year were the weights for their “highest total weight of the year prize” that they call the “angler of the year” added incorrectly and then posted on Facebook? Thankfully some of their members kept a check on things like that. Maybe that’s the real reason they don’t have a points system to determine AOY like every other professional bass group. Just imagine how bad it would be trying to convert weight to points and then adding that up! I have been told that at least one of the “whistleblowers” were instructed to no longer make their objections online. I wonder why? Perhaps it’s because if everybody knew that the people responsible for distributing the prize money couldn’t add the weights properly, maybe the members might start having doubts?
Heck, they can’t even add the total number of tournaments they have each year. The Facebook post dated October 24 (which I wager will soon be edited) reads: “All of the totals for the year have been calculated. After 6 regular season tournaments, the team of Corbin/Corbin are the Anglers of the Year, with a total weight 92.96 pounds.” Of course there were actually 7 regular season tournaments.
Does anybody remember the time the EBA leadership allowed a team to claim a tournament victory after that team fished at Loch Raven when the lake was closed? That’s closed, not off-limits, meaning that the team was breaking the law in addition to the EBA rules. To paraphrase their response - “just don’t let it happen again”. Yet this year they disqualified a team for bringing 9 fish to the scale (not against the law), when there was no written rule stating that this was reason for disqualification even after the team brought the missing rule to light. How is that?
To be totally honest, the MRA had previously DQ’d teams for more than 8 fish without having it stipulated in the rules. The only difference is if it had been questioned, I would have sided with the team that it was not a written rule and since no law had been broken they should be able to remove one fish and continue with the weigh-in. Our rules have since been amended.
Fact #6 – I’m not perfect. I never was, and I never will be. But I try my best and always try to be fair and considerate to everyone. However, I have grown tired of not standing up and letting everyone know how I feel about this great club. I’m tired of people who distort the truth or work to intimidate others. It is clear to me that anyone who really knows the details of the history of the MRA, the inner workings of the MRA, and the facts about our great group would have to look upon us as a premier organization that tries in every way possible to enhance the enjoyment of the reservoirs and the great sport of bass fishing.
A year ago the same EBA leader who posted the 2015 schedule on Facebook was asked to fish as a substitute in a regular MRA tournament. He was allowed. I was asked how I could let him fish. The answer was simple. He never did anything worthy of making him not eligible to fish. I wonder if the same would be done for me?
My time of representing the MRA is rapidly coming to a close. Because of the animosity harbored against me by some of the leadership of the EBA, there has never been a desire on the part of the EBA to collaborate and make tournament fishing better for both groups. Perhaps that may change in the future. That would be nice.
There are a number of people reading (or hearing about) this blog that can do something about this. If you are a member of one of those 13 or so teams (or part of a team) that fishes both clubs - that “sits on both sides of the fence” – I ask you to do this for me. Stand up on that fencepost and let the EBA know you fish both circuits, you want to fish both circuits, and you would appreciate it if they would make it easier to fish both circuits. If they don’t change their mind then maybe you’ll recognize once and for all who really looks out for your best interests.