The Fish Toss

By Del Duduit

Who knew a fishmonger could be a cool thing? The name alone can raise eyebrows.

Angie and I spent a day in Seattle this past weekend prior to boarding a ship to cruise Alaska.

I had heard Pike Place Market was the go-to destination and was famous for “the fish toss.”

Seattle is a beautiful and vibrant city, and we shoved everything possible that we could do there into a few hours before we took an Amtrak to Vancouver, B.C.

The fish market district was magnificent, boasting bold character and hustling with people from all over the world. The brick streets and antique architecture combined with bright colors made it attractive.

We took time to stroll through the market which thrived with excitement. We saw every sea creature imaginable for sale on ice along with other goods and anything else your heart may desire.

There was halibut, extra large lobster tail and octopus to mention a few. The aroma of freshly cut flowers blended in with succulent produce. When we arrived, we immediately stumbled onto Beecher’s Hand Made Cheese after we noticed a long line of folks who waited to get a taste of the delicacy inside. I mean this was a long line.

Note: If you find yourself at Pike Place Market, you MUST taste the Original Macaroni and Cheese — best ever!!

The story of the fish market is intriguing.

It was founded in 1930 and is an open-air fish market in downtown Seattle, at the corner of Pike Street and Pike Place. In 1965, it was bought by John Yokoyama, a former employee at the market.

In 1986, it almost went bankrupt, and ownership and consultants had to come up with a strategy to attract new customers.

An employee of the market had an idea to not only save the business but make it an attraction known around the world, and have some fun at the same time.

They would make “fish fly,” and people came from all over to watch his simple, yet brilliant concoction play out. Whenever a customer bought a fish, the fishmongers would grab it off the ice and toss it across the market back and forth. This turned into a spectacle and a game. Now buying fish was fun!!!

In 1990, Seattle hosted Ted Turner’s Goodwill Games, and news crews found Pike Place Fish Market and filmed fishmongers tossing fish back and forth. Soon it was on Good Morning America, other national television shows, and in magazines all over the country. Everyone was interested.

In 1991, CNN called the fish market one of the funnest places to work in the country.

The success of the business has been featured in motivational books, and employees often speak to schools and civic groups on how to be innovative and unique in business.

Today, about 10,000 people stroll each day through the Pike Place Market to get a gander at “the fish toss.”

What was once on the verge of collapsing is now a model of success. It took an unusual approach to business that incorporated fun and enjoyment. People flock from all over the nation and world to see the employees enjoy their work. They clap, laugh, and take home not only magnificent fish, but great memories.

Do you need to do something to make your walk with Christ more enjoyable and leave a positive impact on those around you?

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Everyone gets in a rut, but here are some unique and simple ways to have fun and get your point across that a Christian life is the funnest way to live.

  1. Start a writing ministry (my favorite) This was a long time in coming for me, but the past 18 months have been a complete self-satisfying internal reward. Since I surrendered to His call, I have experienced a new world. People don’t come from all over the globe to see me toss a fish, but I do have followers from around the sphere who read my inspirational posts about how to be a better fisher of men.
  2. Take a mission trip. This is on my bucket list. I want to travel overseas on a journey and help people. But if you cannot afford this, there is plenty of work to do in your own area. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (Matthew 5: 42)
  3. Volunteer in your community: This is something I have done for years. I am a part of one social issue organization, and I am also involved in local politics and serve on a civic board. I think Christians should and need to be involved in their community. It’s a way to make a difference and let your light shine and your voice be heard. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6: 10)
  4. Begin a visitation ministry: You can do this in a local hospital or in your neighborhood. The point is to show compassion and love. For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in. (Matthew 25: 35)
  5. Visit the Holy Land: This has to be on every Christians’ must-do list. While we were at the Space Needle, we met a couple from Cincinnati who had visited there. They had some neat stories to tell, and I want to experience that for myself one day.

If you are in a routine and need some excitement in your life, consider my top five suggestions. This life needs to be fun. If your emotional and spiritual well is dry, consider “the fish toss,” and make your life for Christ attractive for everyone to see. It just might catch on all over the world.

Now, we are off to Alaska to fish for salmon and dog sled down a glacier.

Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at Del Duduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

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