CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A friend and I were chatting about fishing a few days ago when an interesting topic came up.
I was reminiscing about a long-ago day of fishing, and in doing so I mentioned that my fishing partner that day caught several more fish than I did.
"I'll bet that bothered you," the friend said.
"No, as a matter of fact, it didn't," I replied. "When I go fishing, I compete with the fish, not with other fishermen."
The exchange got me thinking, though.
I'm a competitive guy. From the time I was old enough to play marbles, I've enjoyed pitting my hand-eye coordination, endurance, speed, nerve - you name it - against those of other people.
Interestingly, though, I've never thought of fishing, hunting or shooting as competitions, at least not against other people.
From the very first time I threaded a worm onto a hook and tossed it into the waters of Logan County's Spruce Fork, I had but one goal - to catch fish.
From the very first time I tossed a handful of shells into a jacket pocket, slung a shotgun over my shoulder and headed into the woods, I had but one goal - to kill squirrels.
And from the very first time I drew a bead on a bull's-eye or a clay bird, I had but one goal - to shoot the highest score my skills would allow.
If I caught more fish, killed more squirrels or shot a higher score than my companions, fine. If I didn't, that was equally fine. As long as I caught fish, killed squirrels or hit my share of targets, I was happy as the proverbial clam.