As with everything else, competitive sports in schools and colleges are constantly evolving. While mainstays like track, football and soccer remain the most popular, some unusual ones like Quidditch and sand volleyball are slowly gaining ground. However, all of them still require some physical exertion. It is therefore no wonder that the decision to add bass fishing to the roster of high school 'sports' is raising some eyebrows.
The movement to add fishing was spearheaded by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) about four years ago. The decision has met with tremendous success and 232 state high schools now boast a team. Earlier this month, the Kentucky High School Association decided to add the sport too and if rumors are to be believed Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, are not far behind.
The rules are fairly simple - The team members compete two at a time in boats that are driven by adults. The athlete that catches the best five, determined by the total weight of the fish, is declared the winner. What's great about the sport is that the fish are released back to the water, once they have been weighed.
And, while fishing is not an active sport by any stretch of the imagination, advocates believe that introducing it as a high school sport has several advantages. First of all, experts maintain that fishing is not a sport of luck but one that requires some scientific knowledge and skill. In order to to figure out where the best fish may be swimming around the competitors have to be able to gauge the temperature, clarity and water oxygen levels.
It is also a team sport that gives students that do not play 'normal' sports, a chance to represent their schools in competitions against their peers from other high schools. In addition to that it is one of the few sports where age, gender, height, weight and all the other attributes that are so important for normal competitive sports do not matter. Hence teams comprising of girls and boys of all sizes and athletic prowess are able to compete, on a level playing field.
However, before the sport really takes off, there are some equipment and financial hurdles that the schools have to overcome. First and foremost, it requires borrowing boats and a roster of volunteer adult drivers willing take the competitors out to the lakes.
The schools also need to provide the participants with a fishing license, outfits, equipment and artificial bait. Added to this, is the cost of the mandatory liability insurance policy that each school has to obtain. But given that 232 schools in Illinois have succeeded, those that really want to, will manage and who knows, someday we may even have a bass fishing Super Bowl!
Resources: communitypress.cincinati.com, news.yahoo.com, sports.yahoo.com