Growing the sport

Been on the job for 60 days now and covered lots of ground. I mean lots of ground. Has it been more "stuff" than I expected? No, but I think I was really prepared. Remember, I was kind of in the middle of it all for months before it was official, so I saw the groundswell coming and was braced for it. Plus, so much of the "stuff" is positive and that puts lots of fun in the "stuff."

For example,cEverybody wants to "grow the sport" and quite frankly those are the most overused three words in our world. People throw 'em around all the time, but rarely ever do anything to make it happen. However, this moment in time could be different than any before it. Think about that?

Ray Scott started the whole thing 42 years ago and we should always be grateful and respectful for what he accomplished.

At the end of his time of leadership and into the Helen Sevier years, B.A.S.S. probably began to level off and that's not good, because if you're not going forward you're probably going backwards.

So here comes ESPN, and I can already hear you rumbling. "Yeah, they didn't help us at all. Look at all the problems they've caused." Truth be known, the sport of bass fishing had never seen the ESPN kind of exposure before.

Just guessing, but I would say there were 5 anglers that the world recognized before ESPN came along. Now there's maybe 20.

But we all know the downside. ESPN couldn't really get their arms around the grassroots of bass fishing and that is the area we're putting lots of emphasis on and should make up lots of ground in a hurry. When that starts happening, that's when we will get the attention of many non-industry sponsors. This is and always has been an incredible sport. One that the Coca-Colas, Nation Wide Insurances and Verizons, etc., should jump all over.

Well it took me about three paragraphs to get from Ray Scott to "this moment in time." Wasn't much detail, but none is needed because this moment in time is the only thing that we can do anything about.

As I have informed you in the past, ESPN is still our broadcast partner, so one of the best things from the past 10 years is still in place.

Let me also say I have been face-to-face with the folks from Toyota, Pure Fishing, Bass Pro Shops, Mercury Marine, Yamaha and Skeeter. Also, just days from a sit down with Ramada Inn, Evan Williams and others.

Let me tell you folks, these companies have their sleeves rolled up. They're ready to — dare I say it — help "grow the sport."

And the Coca-Colas, Nationwides and Verizons are starting to appear.

So now we're back to ... I must keep the fire burning. And like never before, the ball is in my court.

So what's my plan to grow the sport? Here's a shocker for you. I don't think I can do it. Won't attempt to. No, the plan is a little different.

B.A.S.S. is going to take such good care of its existing members and sponsors that they are the ones that will grow the sport. Don't you think that's how it should be?

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