Summer’s end is closing in which makes me think of the Little League World Series and the start of school for many children across the country in the next couple of weeks. Every year I tune in to catch a few of the Little League World Series games as young men and some young women try and live out their dreams of swinging away on the big stage. For some, their Little League is the Junior and High School Bassmaster Championship. On July 21st and 22nd, elementary and middle school aged children from across the country will compete in the Bassmaster Junior Bassmaster Championship followed by the Strike King Bassmaster High School Championship, July 28th and 29th at Lake Hartwell out of Green Pond Landing.
This year, I have a front row seat to the Little League of Bass Fishing as a Boat Captain for two fine young gentlemen from New York. First, congratulations to all the anglers from the Junior and High School Divisions for qualifying. This is a big deal! Second, over the last two days, I have observed, coached, and enjoyed my time with two young men that this sport has connected me to, as well as their families. I believe that competition breeds greatness in all forms. Not only are these two children, that by happenstance fell into my life, really good young anglers, but they are also really good young people. Great job to their parents for raising them well.
Over the last two days, I have witnessed two individuals, bonded by their sheer love of bass fishing, become better friends. Not everyone can throw a baseball 75 mph at age 13, but everyone can fish. If you have a child or know of one that is struggling to find their “thing”, bass fishing can be that thing. Now, more than ever, fishing opportunities are available for all school-aged children across the country. You may not be a fisherman yourself, but I assure you, there is one nearby, ready to render those services that our children so desperately need.
Bass fishing helps teach our children about conservation, fair competition, how to handle loss, and victory appropriately in their lives. It teaches them how to effectively communicate with others and how to speak in a public forum. How many times does an angler have to talk after weighing their fish? These are life skills that will follow our children for the rest of their lives. I highly recommend getting your kids involved with fishing. If you don’t have the know-how, reach out to a local bass club to get them involved.
Thanks to all the volunteers, team coaches, and youth directors, such as South Carolina’s Tony Gray, who continue to put the children’s needs first and provide them an outlet to learn, grow, and become better anglers and better people. Just as the Little League World Series produces eventual Major League baseball players, I am certain after observing the last two days, that the Junior and High School Bass Championship will produce future Elite Series professionals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the names Tristan Topa and Parker Stevens crossing the Elite Stage in ten years. Good luck gentlemen!
If you are in the Anderson, SC area this weekend or next weekend, please come out to Green Pond Landing and cheer on the future of our sport. Let’s support these children and please, take a kid fishing.