March Madness turns to white bass fishing in East Texas

My interest in March Madness ceased on Sunday evening. The reason is simple. My team was beaten.

That my team, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, lost to UCLA is not a surprise. The Lumberjacks had never journeyed beyond the first round before Friday. That was when the team from Nacogdoches, Texas, shocked the hell out of a lot of folks in their mind-bending overtime win over fourth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth. This is only the second time SFA had gone to the big dance.

The Bruins practically invented college basketball or sits as its master of the sport. UCLA hadn’t won it all lately so they got themselves a new coach. So did Stephen F. Austin.

UCLA had height, and a lot of it. SFA were relatively little people compared to UCLA.  But SFA had heart. They had soul. They had a long-haired boy called “Sunshine” who wore tie-dyed shirts when not attired for basketball. Oh, and he likes to hunt and fish. He told one sports reporter he liked fishing for white bass on the Angelina River. Yes, that boy,  Jacob Parker, is the real deal if he knows about white bass and the Angelina.  This time of year the white bass make their “run” along the Angelina.

My friends and I used to hang out at a place on the Angelina known as Shawnee Landing. The property actually belonged to the U.S. Forest Service and was a nice little place to come hang out, go fishing, drink a beer or fire up a doobie. Unfortunately, too many found the place and made Shawnee too good of a thing. I don’t know if it’s closed now or not. All I know is it’s a kind of place where long-haired country boys like to go. I used to take all country roads — one was barely paved — to the place from my house. And on days I’ve had like today, I sure miss that part of Nacogdoches County and those times.

Well, ol’ Sunshine will be back next year and so will many of the ‘Jacks who brought them to San Diego for two rounds of NCAA tourney hoops. Hopefully, the Jack’s now second-year coach Brad Underwood will find him some big ol’ boys taller than the ones he’s got and who can shoot. Meanwhile, the Jacks are back home and Sunshine is probably out fishing. Let’s hope so. The boys, the new “media darlings” at the big dance this year, are Jacks who are back in Nac. Take me home country road.

It’s not a bad place to be.