Being a small boy, I was adventurous and wanted to fit in with the rest of my age mates. I was going to do anything that would make me seem brave and cool in the eyes of my peers. On that sunny afternoon, I reluctantly smeared sunblock over all exposed parts of my forty-nine-pound body in preparation for the arduous task. After participating in numerous fishing ventures that had left my hook bare and skin red and numb, I was sure that finally, my long awaited day of victory had arrived. I stood ready to clear the initial manhood hurdle, which was triumph over fish. At the age of eight, I felt sure that my powerful and rugged being could overcome any obstacle, to the extent that I pitied the fish that was yet to become the woeful object of my initial demonstration of male prowess.
My naïve eagerness to cross the line that created a boundary between a boy and a man engaged me deeply. In fact, I have engrossed in my heroic thoughts that the long stretch to our favorite fishing point seemed fleeting. I was suddenly snapped into reality by the break in the droning of the engine. I immediately started fumbling for my fishing pole seconds after jarring back into the real world. I dangled the ends of the humble rods over the boat’s edge and plunked the plastic lure into the water after releasing the bail from the reel. I then sat back waiting for an attack on the lure once I had let out the sufficient line.
My anxiety accumulated with every low hum of the motor, which was moving at trolling speed. The atmosphere felt as the instrumental accompaniment to a horror movie. No sooner had I waited that luck set in. I felt a sharp tug that was faster than electric currents pulling me through the line to my feet. I held the pole tightly, and, when I had a firm grip, I yanked it out of the holder with all the strength I could gather. I was so nervous that after tugging on the rod, I almost plunged headlong into the domain of the fish. For a few minutes, I could feel my superhuman will and unvanquishable strength waning strongly and steadily al though my adrenaline rush was active and streaming through my veins.
The turn of events pushed me to the corner of despair in that I was ready to surrender to the fish and retreat to a life of pain, sorrow, and discontentment. However, just before I could convey, the fish performed a miraculous stunt. It leaped from the surface of the ocean to my disbelief, and I could see its skin gleaming with bright shades of yellow, green, and blue in a fantastic spray of waves. The sun shone upon the breathtaking spectacle, creating a scene that regenerated into a furious spectrum of unique color. To my utter surprise and to a certain extent anger, the fish tumbled back into the water body. Everything happened so swiftly that I was not in control of the events. One moment the fish was a pitiful victim that relied on my mercy, and the next minute it was loaming freely again in its habitat. I longed for the possession of the daring and mysterious creature that I was yearning to touch it one last time and experience the unmatched joy that every hunter must feel for his catch and, probably, successful kill. I knew I needed to catch that fish no matter what it took.
I fought for less than five minutes but still lost miserably. However, I could not afford to feel like a failure because I had done my best, and those were the five minutes of fame I was not about to forget. However, reality soon became established, and I began to acknowledge what the failure meant. I felt utterly immersed in heart-wrenching dismay since I had lost the only opportunity that I had to prove my manhood to my peers. I rode back to the shore embarrassed and in bitter silence. I could not help thinking about the significant difference between my brave peers and my cowardly self that had left his catch to leap back to the ocean and did nothing to stop the situation. What struck me forcefully was the realization that I had no other chance to prove my might, hence would learn to live to wear the badge of failure and cowardice for the rest of my life. I had killed my only chance to exhibit my manhood in front of my peers.
However, over the years, I have reconciled with myself, and in retrospect, I feel relieved that I handled my passage ceremony from boyhood to manhood in that manner because all that matters is the will and zeal to try although a failure might be the outcome. While my views on hunting, specifically fishing, have since changed, I remain a powerful conscience that continues to shape my personality and perspective towards life. My senses of bravery and success stretch far beyond the ability to hunt sea creatures but instead are centered on the willingness to face challenges with an open mind and accept failure when it strikes. In the future, I hope to instill the motivation to find success in more sensible things other than mere hunts in my peers.