To me a ‘professional’ is a someone who excels in their field, often have made a name for themselves and get paid for doing what they do. Folks like Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, both former professional baseball players come to mind, as do people like Dave Whitlock, Lefty Kreh and Flip Pallot in the flyfishing world.
Outside of being considered a ‘professional’ at work, I’ve never really considered myself a professional at anything in particular. Sure, I’m pretty talented at a few things but always thought ‘professional’ was a bit of a stretch. I’ve been introduced as a professional flytier more than once but never really thought of myself as a professional. Sure, I’ve been paid for tying flies but never considered myself to rank among the ‘big name’ fly tiers like Bob Clouser, Dave Whitlock or Bob Popovics.
So why the ‘professional’ monolog? Mostly to describe why the comments of a mom to her kids caught me so off guard a few weeks back when Jenna and I took our backpacking trip down at Chattahoochee Bend. It happened like this…Jenna and I were strolling along the River Trail when we came across a mom and her daughters heading the other direction. Keep in mind that both of us were carrying backpacks instead of day packs, using trekking poles and probably weren’t exactly dressed like most of the usual day hikers and trail walkers. Anyway, as we approached the mom and her kids I heard her tell them “step to the side and let them pass girls, they’re professionals.” HUH, WHAT?
We waved, said hi and continued on our way but for a few moments I was sort of stunned. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around what the lady had said. Professional? Really? You’re kidding right? After a while shock finally gave way to amusement. Since then I can’t help but wonder if she somehow actually thought that we were professionals or if it was just her way of shooing the girls off the trail so we could pass with a comment we weren’t intended to hear? We’ll never know the answer to that question but for a brief moment it was kinda fun being a ‘professional’ hiker…even it may just have been in my own mind.
Don’t try this at home kids, I AM a professional…