CORBIN — Sports Editorial by Chris Parsons
When the idea of bass fishing as a possible high school sport was mentioned to me, I’ll be the first to admit that I laughed it off without much thought or consideration to the idea.
With the first season of bass fishing officially in the books and a slew of local athletes turning in impressive showings in this past weekend's state championships, I’ve had a change of heart.
In my own defense, it’s really not like I said it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, nor did I poke fun of the idea.
My reasoning was the fact that the specifics were going to be a beast to work out as well as the liability factor when it came to putting high school students on a boat in a competitive environment.
Of course there was the issue as to how a sports reporter was to go about covering such an event. Of course we can’t go along on the boat with the anglers, so that leaves us depending on parents and coaches to email photos they may have gotten during or after events. The other possibility is to show up at the end of an event to photograph the weigh-ins.
First, let me congratulate all of our local athletes that took part in the first ever Kentucky Bass Fishing State Championship. This was a historical event that I feel each and every one of you should be extremely proud of.
South Laurel’s Austin Turner and Lucas Powell finished third in the state, which is pretty good for a couple of freshmen if you ask me.
Add to the fact that the two teams that beat them out (Callaway and Muhlenberg County) are the two closest teams to the site of the championship, Kentucky Lake, and I think the third place finish is even more special considering the home-lake advantage (if that’s even what it’s called) the other two teams had.
Second, I’ve always been one to admit when I’m wrong and I was wrong about bass fishing.
When you really think about it, there’s probably no other activity that’s done more in the state of Kentucky by youngsters than fishing.
Sure, we have a lot of basketball players that shoot a lot of hoops or play a lot of baseball, but fishing is something a lot of people are introduced to at a very young age in Kentucky. Whether we’ve done it with our grandpa, an uncle, a brother or just a bunch of friends, a large number of people in Kentucky have fished at least once in their lives.
Considering the number of lakes and streams we have in our beautiful state, the idea of making bass fishing a sport is probably a move that should have been made a long time ago.
Not everyone is blessed with world-class great speed, the ability to knock down clutch a three-pointer, the hand-eye coordination or bat speed to hit a letter-high fastball, the swing to drive a golf ball 300 yards or – well you get my point.
Bass fishing has given a lot of student-athletes a chance to compete in a sport that they obviously enjoy, but there’s more to it than that. Some of these anglers may not have had a chance to be a part of a sports team if not for bass fishing.
Sports can do wonders for a child’s confidence and self-esteem and sometimes it doesn’t even have to be about winning and losing, but instead about being a part of something in a group environment.
Add to the fact that there are scholarships coming available left and right in the sport of bass fishing and you’ve turned a family tradition into an opportunity to pay for a college education, which in turn can make life a lot easier.
In the end, bass fishing as a high school sport was a great idea. Now, if I can only get the powers-that-be to furnish our sports department with a nice boat so we can cover our local teams on a weekly basis, I’ll be a happy man.