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Post Column: Fishing can take your mind off grief, tragedy

Tragedy, while not always with as much recent impact and magnitude as the Boston bombings, happens daily for thousands. Family members die, people get divorced, people get severely injured, people have miscarriages, become diagnosed with cancer ... The list goes on and on. With every hardship or tragedy, whether extreme or miniscule, people must get back to “normal” life. There are things that happen to all of us, causing an impact that sticks with us for the rest of our lives. After the dust settles, we must find our “cure.”

For many, including myself, fishing becomes a haven. Fishing becomes a way to escape the stress, sadness and general misfortunes of the world. Being out on the water is a release from what seems to be endless negativity.

In December of 2011, I was hit by a pick-up truck attempting to cross a Cleveland highway (yeah, not so smart), narrowly escaping with my life. I suffered a broken collarbone and fractured knee, among other relatively severe lacerations.

During the healing process, I longed so strongly for things to be normal again. Walking to classes with a brace, crutches and an immobile right arm made that Winter Quarter drag on like none before or since.

On Feb. 3 I was finally able to get to the lake and fish. It was warm for an early February day, somewhere in the lower 50s, and the sun beamed. I grabbed my gear from the trunk and slowly began hobbling up the path to the lake. After situating myself on the rocks, I began the difficult task of casting without full mobility in my arm and leg. It wasn’t long before I got that first bite.

Throwing a rattletrap lure, I caught my first fish since the accident, and to this day that bass remains my favorite catch. That was the moment where things, for the first time, truly felt normal. This is familiar to many people who go through hardships and find relief and release through fishing. For example, the TV show where US soldiers who have been wounded in battle go fishing with the hosts. These soldiers tell similar stories about how fishing is their “cure” and has helped them overcome the tragic events of their lives.

No matter the severity of personal tragedy, as we reflect on the bombings in Boston, we must remember that we are always able to overcome the adversity. We do this together and individually. I can be sure that fishing will soothe many lives that have been directly affected by this terrorizing act.

Jimmy Valvano gave a speech regarding the cancer that eventually resulted in his death. However, many tragic events can be used in similar context, such as the bombings. The Boston bombings “can take away my physical abilities, (but) it cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul.”

Tragedy shall be overmatched by our strong human ability to live.


Ryan Dentscheff is a junior studying journalism, the president of the Ohio University Anglers Association and a columnist for The Post. Is fishing therapeutic for you? Email Ryan at

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