Before you chuckle and make some comment about country hicks or in-bred people, the state of Kentucky who recently made bass fishing an official high school sport is not the only one to make fishing an official high school sport; that honor goes to Illinois.
Let's be honest here too folks--you all know your just a little bit envious. It's okay; you can admit it. It would be hard to pass up a chance to win a letter jacket simply by hanging out on the lake in a boat enjoying the calm serenity of Mother Nature while sticking your pole in the water (fishing pole, that is).
Before you try to loop Illinois into your redneck jokes the idea of bass fishing as a high school sport is a lot bigger than you might think. A cursory search on YouTube shows that a number of states are jumping on this bandwagon. Texas high schools started holding a championship in 2010. Oklahoma's championship was won by Jenna Beam last year.
The World Championships for high school is sponsored by American Outdoors and is held in Arkansas. Yes, folks, a world championship.
In case you are wondering how it works, two fishers go out on a boat with an adult at the helm. The best five fish are weighed in at the end of competition. Whoever has the biggest overall catch wins. Even the fish don't lose; they are let go after the weigh in.
A high school near you may have a team already and you don't know it. The sport has taken off pretty quickly wherever it has been introduced. Within four years the state of Illinois went from having 99 schools to 232 with fishing teams.
The concept is a little funny, but kudos to those who are involved with making this happen. Giving kids another outlet for their time after school is a good thing. Not every one wants to put their body through the trials involved with more traditional high school sports.
I have to admit, the idea of hanging out on the lake for 'practice' sounds pretty nice. I wonder what it takes to become a coach...
Oh, and in case you really want to be jealous of kids these days--beach volleyball has been made an official school sport (at least in Arizona).
Article by Travis Pulver