First this stray cast on the coming IHSA bass-fishing tournament from an old friend and prep sportswriter, “Because there are so many more lakes/opportunities for teams from the South to fish, I think when a kid from Chicagoland catches a bass it should be multiplied by 1.67 so that it is fair. That gives everyone a chance.”
But seriously. I tried in the Feb. 13 Sun-Times to show what IHSA honcho Dave Gannaway foresees coming as the ground-breaking statewide bass-fishing tournament moves Illinois toward history in the spring of 2009.
More details will come after the initial committee meets in coming weeks and comes up with the actual format.
In the meantime, if you’re a kid who wants to fish it or a teacher/coach who wants to help coach, let your AD or principal know, so the gears start turning. I’ve heard from all kinds of coaches/teachers, including a member of Frank Lenti’s football staff at Mount Carmel.
I covered preps (still do the occasional basketball or football game for the Sun-Times) and outdoors for a long time, and I have never seen this kind of interest in something new in high school sports.
I’ve heard from kids who want details so they can make the team, bass fishing guys who want details so they can help out, possible sponsors who want details so they can get in at the ground level, and coaches who want details just because it blends their coaching and fishing interests.
In nearly 25 years of doing prep sports, I’ve seen some greats: Ricky Watters (best prep football player I’ve seen), Kevin Garnett and Ronnie Fields (best basketball duo, even better than the pair of big men King had a few years earlier), a slew of baseball players, including Mark Mulder as both a top pitcher and field player.
I can’t wait for the day when I can wax nostalgic the same way about a bass fisherman. Stroke my chin and say, “I remember when John “Big” Bass pulled a 5-pounder off a deep point on Rend Lake with a blue Strike King jig to win the 2010 state title. And look at him now, battling Kevin VanDam on ESPN.”
But for now, the best I can recommend to would-be fishermen/students, coaches and volunteers is to let their local schools know of their interest
I’m excited like everybody else.