This is going to be a big week for me. My sons, Landon and Brycen, will be fishing the 2019 Mossy Oak Fishing High School Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors on Kentucky Lake starting on Thursday. We’re on our way as this is written, and we’re already having a good time.
This is our first year so we’re a little (a lot) confused about all that’ll be happening. I’m going to write this as things happen throughout the day and as I learn more about what’s going to happen. I’m the coach. I know I’ll be driving the boat and I think I can give advice, but I’m not sure about that or how far I can go with it.
I’ll know more after the meeting this afternoon. I’ll add to this as I learn more. That’s not the usual way to do one of these things but I’m not a usual kind of guy so…
One thing I don’t need a meeting for, though, is to know that B.A.S.S. is on top of things with the various youth programs they have around the country.
My boys fished the high school program in South Carolina and won the Angler of the Year title for 2018-2019. The program is set up as a team competition so they both are sharing in that accomplishment. I know what that meant to them and what it meant to me. It’s a family thing that centers on bass fishing and the outdoors, but there’s much more to it than that.
It’s something that teaches young men and women how to grow up with values that are wholesome and that can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s not about violence or crude language. It’s about a wholesome activity.
The team format is especially interesting to me. It takes the individual out of it and forces the kids to work together towards a common goal. They learn to respect the other person's skill and to take people’s opinions and ideas seriously. And, they learn to take pride in someone else’s accomplishments.
I really respect B.A.S.S. for what they’re doing. They’re doing a good thing that a lot of people don’t really think enough about. Much of the publicity and media coverage is about bass fishing and the outdoors. But that’s only a part of the story, a small part.
As I write that I realize that I’m a little jealous of all of what’s happening. I wish there had been programs like this when I was growing up. It would have made a difference.
Update: We went to the meeting this afternoon (Monday) and I think I’ve figured out what’s going to happen, or at least where the Williamson team is headed. This is not the place to detail all the rules but basically as the coach I can do a lot of things — helping and teaching — with the kids during practice and not so much during competition. At that point they’re mostly on their own except for running the big motor. Overall, that’s a good format for high school kids.
Hats off to B.A.S.S. for what they’re doing. Programs like this deserve more publicity and recognition. Maybe this column will help with that in some small way.