Help recognize a hero

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Thomas Allen

I was excited recently to see the sport of bass fishing introduce its first-ever community service award, the new C.A.S.T. for Kids B.A.S.S Humanitarian Award. You see, the NFL has its Walter Payton Award, MLB has its Roberto Clemente Award, and the NBA has its Community Assist award, but fishing has never had an award for community service until now.

Such an award enriches the culture of our sport by honoring those who serve others well. It shows our appreciation for those folks working behind the scenes to serve others or enrich the lives of the less fortunate. This award says to those humble servants in our bass fishing community who tirelessly work to make the lives of others better: “We see the work you are doing, we appreciate your efforts, and we value your work.”

Most of the limelight in bass fishing goes to those who excel in tournaments, and rightly so, as tournaments wins are what people dream of, and they drive the bass fishing industry. That can lead a tournament fisherman to lead a self-centered life. I’ve been guilty of being too self-focused at times, because that is what it takes to compete at the highest level. Fishing is no different than other sports in that regard. The Skeeter Boats slogan "Eat, sleep, fish" is literally what it takes to win bass tournaments.

However, there is a world of hurting people out there. They don’t have the same opportunities in life as some of us. Many of them can’t do much on their own. What about them? They need people with big hearts to help them, so they can do more and enjoy life more.

My hope is that the new C.A.S.T. for Kids B.A.S.S. Humanitarian Award will cause all bass fishermen to stop and think, just for a moment, about how they could "love their neighbor" better. Maybe spur some bass fishermen to do some random acts of kindness in their community or provide a fun opportunity for someone who couldn’t do it on their own.

I know our great sport of bass fishing is full of folks with big hearts who serve their communities in many marvelous ways. We love to hear these stories; they inspire us! Nominations are currently open until January 31 for the new C.A.S.T. for Kids B.A.S.S. Humanitarian award. This award will be given to the B.A.S.S. member who does the most to enrich the lives of others in their community.

Nominate someone you know today at www.bassmaster.com/award. The award will be presented on stage at the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk in Birmingham.