Extra points column: A.C. Boat Show prompted memories of old fishing trips
Saturday was supposed to be a smorgasbord of high school sports events for me.
The plan was to take in the Cape-Atlantic League girls and boys championship games at Stockton University's Sports Center, otherwise known as "Big Blue," before heading to Egg Harbor Township High School to catch the Region 8 wrestling finals.
Instead, my early afternoon was spent with our Hampton and Graham for Family Swim at Cape May Elementary
School, which to Graham and older brother Hampton is considered the "Cool School Pool."
I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I'm thinking 2034 Olympics. I have a hard time imagining Michael Phelps could lay across a Styrofoam noodle, put his face in the water and kick his feet any better than 4-year-old Hampton. Graham, who will be turning 2 in May, has shown great promise as a diver based on his forward and backward tumbles off the edge. He's very good at that and in dumping the basket of toys in the water and laughing while Poppy retrieves them from the bottom.
I was able to fulfill one item on my schedule, however. After drying off, dealing with the chaos that is the boys locker room after Family Swim, watching "Moana" for the 10th time, making the kids laugh with my "Maui" impression, and heading home, I joined about a thousand others at the Progressive Atlantic City Boat Show at the Convention Center.
It was done in memory of my father-in-law, the late Charles Newton. My only fishing trips occurred on his boat, the Shirley E., along with his buddy, the late John Bell. Once a year, he'd invite me aboard and we'd head out of Breezy Lee Marina in search of keeper flounder. My wife Karen - who may be the only person in Cape May who doesn't like seafood - would reluctantly fry my catch for me.
I would attempt to repay him by taking him to the Boat Show each winter. Since he passed away in 2008,
I've tried to pay tribute to him by attending it once every few years.
I spent a couple hours Saturday roaming the aisles, watching the water-skiing squirrel, buying a beach bag for my wife and waterproof cell phone protector for my SUP sessions - I bought to two items for $30 - and dreaming of owning a boat until blanching at the price tags.
"That's the best boat in the world right there," a woman said of a plush Boston Whaler that could be had for $650,000.
Viking Yachts had floating mansion available for over $1 million.
It reminded me of my only fishing trip in the last 12 years. It occurred in the summer of 2017, when owner Dave Anderson allowed me to join captain Keith Greenberg, first mate Luke Hickey and the crew of a 70-foot Viking called Krazy Salts for a deep-sea adventure as part of the annual Mid-Atlantic tournament.
That was the first time I became aware of the magic of the ocean. One hundred miles out, the water is a different color. It's a deep, dark blue that hints at the wonderous mysteries beneath it.
Actually, I was merely a bystander that day. I didn't come close to reeling in a white marlin. I just tried to stay out of the way and watch Greenberg, Hickey and company at work.
All the boats on display at the show weren't outrageously expensive. I actually thought for half a minute about a 21-footer that was listed for the special show price of $38,000. Right next to it was a banner that read, "Your wife called. She said. ... BUY THE BOAT." I took that as a sign that maybe it was time to give up golf and take the plunge.
I texted my wife. She emphatically told me she did not call.
Turned out it was a wrong number.
If I want flounder, I have to get it at Lobster House Fish Market.
My buddy Harry Tillotson experienced the same dilemma at the boat show Sunday.
And he came to the same conclusion.
We'll both be back in the men's league at Cape May National Golf Club this summer.