Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Friendliest Catch: A Day on the Bay" Words of Wisdom and Wit from Seth Winners in Sarasota Herald Tribune, June 30, 2016

http://m.heraldtribune.com/Top%20News/Friendliest%20Catch:%20A%20day%20on%20the%20bay/http:%7C%7Cwww.heraldtribune.com%7Carticle%7C20160629%7Cnews%7C160629553

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival's fishing tournament a special opportunity


Seth Winners talks about the big fish he's going to catch during the Friendliest Catch fishing tournament on Wednesday. Individuals with special needs joined about 10 boat captains for a day of fishing and a picnic at Sarasota Outboard Club. The event was part of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix festivities. STAFF PHOTO / DAN WAGNER
Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
SARASOTA COUNTY  The smell of salt and sunscreen filled the air at the Sarasota Outboard Club on Wednesday.
Under the covered area overlooking Sarasota Bay, Seth Winners, 27, looked straight into the eyes of one of the volunteers, Brandon Kirsch.
“It is on, señor,” Winners said seriously, the neon green color from his shirt reflecting in his glasses.
He bet he could catch more fish than Kirsch. If he lost, he vowed to eat 50 hamburgers.
Winners was one of the 74 participants in the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival's Friendliest Catch Fishing Tournament. The event gives children and adults with special needs the opportunity to interact with local fisherman and catch some fish.
“He loves going out on the boats and meeting the captains,” said Kathryn Shea, Winners' mother and the CEO for the Florida Center for Early Childhood.
Shea adopted Winners when he was 4 years old, but has been with him since he was 4 months old. Winners was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Winners was born intoxicated, and spent the first five weeks of his life on a ventilator, Shea said. At one point, Shea was worried Winners would have to be institutionalized by the age of 7, because his brain damage was so severe, she said. 
Despite this prognosis, Winners progressed and thrived. He attended Oak Park School, and is now at Community Haven in Sarasota. Winners regularly attends events in the community.
The tournament has been a staple in Sarasota for the past 34 years. Winners has participated the past six.
In total, 33 boats went out on the water. Winners boarded a boat with 15 other participants and volunteers for the afternoon.
Once out on the bay, everyone was eager to get their lines in the water.
Winners dropped his line, a pink shrimp dangling off the end.
“Here fishy, fishy, fishy. Come to papa,” he chanted, anxiously looking down at the water.
After losing some bait to fish passing by, he finally felt a tug at his line. With the help of the captains on board, Winners reeled in a fish of his own, all while grinning ear-to-ear.
He named it Leo. He kissed it. Then, he released it back into the water.
The group caught eight fish total. Winners caught two.
After the few hours on the water, the boat headed back to the Sarasota Outboard Club, where lunch was served to all of the participants and volunteers.
Laughter filled the club, everyone reminiscing over their time on the boats.
“Everyone gets a great day on the water. All of the volunteers and liaisons' faces really light up,” said Don Mcguire, co-chairman of the Friendliest Catch.  
Mcguire and his wife, Kim Mcguire, have run the event the past three years. He previously was a captain for one of the boats for 10 years.
At the end of the tournament, awards are given out. Each participant in the competition gets a prize for partaking in the event.
Although the event just happened, Winners is already waiting to get back on the water next year, Shea said.
“When it's over, he always asks how many more days until we can come back,” she said.tains on board, Winners reeled in a fish of his own, all while grinning ear-to-ear.
He named it Leo. He kissed it. Then, he released it back into the water.
The group caught eight fish total. Winners caught two.
After the few hours on the water, the boat headed back to the Sarasota Outboard Club, where lunch was served to all of the participants and volunteers.
Laughter filled the club, everyone reminiscing over their time on the boats.
“Everyone gets a great day on the water. All of the volunteers and liaisons' faces really light up,” said Don Mcguire, co-chairman of the Friendliest Catch.  
Mcguire and his wife, Kim Mcguire, have run the event the past three years. He previously was a captain for one of the boats for 10 years.
At the end of the tournament, awards are given out. Each participant in the competition gets a prize for partaking in the event.
Although the event just happened, Winners is already waiting to get back on the water next year, Shea said.
“When it's over, he always asks how many more days until we can come back,” she said."

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