2013 B.A.S.S. High School Invitational Wheeler Lake - Decatur, AL, Jul 20, 2013

Dang kids

About the author

Steve Bowman

Steve Bowman

Steve Bowman is a veteran outdoor writer, covering B.A.S.S. for almost three decades. He’s currently the editor/manager for tournament coverage on Bassmaster.com.

If you are one of the elders of this sport of bass fishing, that probably makes you an elder in other things.

Elder in this instance simply means someone old enough to be an adult. You have kids, maybe even grandkids. When you talk to those kids you may often mention how much better they have it today than when we had to walk miles and miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.

It’s an age-old paradigm: older folks busting on young folks.

Take a look at this quote:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Socrates

I was a kid a long time ago. My kids will tell you it was a really long time ago. I’ve raised three of them, or mostly raised them anyway. And as every parent, grandparent from Socrates to now will attest, the younger generation just doesn’t get it.

Or do they?

If you’ve ever gone down that trail of thought, whispered (or yelled) those words, then step back a moment and take a look at last weekend’s B.A.S.S. High School Invitational.

Before I go on, let me mention when I was in high school, we didn’t have fishing competitions, or iPhones, or computers or even collegiate events. Damn kids, they have everything these days.

Back to the High School Invitational: I figure a lot of folks just let that one slip right on by without even giving it a glance. After all, Edwin Evers, Kevin VanDam and Skeet Reese or any of their family weren’t fishing in it.

I figure if you didn’t know one or more of the cherub-faced kids in this event, you may not have even known it took place.

I’m supposed to have my fingertips in most of these events and to be honest, I almost forgot about it. What a shame.

When I did pay attention I was simply blown away. Yes, kids today have it better than we did. We had it better than our parents and so on down the line.

In the middle of a world full of Trayvon Martins and George Zimmermans, we worry about the next generation. Then along comes this high school thing.

I couldn’t get a page or two into the blog or into the photo galleries without thinking, “holy cow, our future is pretty darned bright.”

There were a couple of things that struck me while watching the tournament and the blog unfold.

One of the most important is the sight of parents sitting or running a trolling motor while their children competed in an event. They didn’t cast, they didn’t catch, they didn’t net. They just sat there for safety purposes and watched.

From back in the day when we had press observers in the Bassmaster Classic, I can tell you firsthand, sitting in a boat watching someone fish is the worst kind of torture for a fisherman. But these parents did it and, in many cases, were proud enough to do it and support their protégés. There are untold blessings in that type of act for all of us.

Equally important is the obvious level of skill and knowledge of kids around this country. This isn’t past-time fishing. This is hardcore get-after-it angling like my generation and the one before it could have never comprehended at that age.

If you will take a moment and just dig a little deeper into the high school event, you might come out the other end thinking that kids really do have it better today, and wrapped around that might be the realization as a result, fishing is better off than ever for every generation.

I kind of like that, a lot. Thanks kids.

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