You may think it sounds crazy, but Illinois recently became the first state to decree that bass fishing is now a high school sport. And I'm wondering how high school coaches and athletic directors feel about it, because I can say with certainty that it's going to raise more than a few eyebrows among some of those I know.Apparently, the multibillion dollar industry that once was viewed as the purview of old men in floppy hats is becoming a big hit with high school students, and there's no doubt that the lessons of conservation that go along with it are ones we need kids across America to pick up and run with.
Of course, there's no real precedent for making fishing a sport, and there's a real argument that it doesn't quite take much physical activity either.
But they're already putting together a statewide tournament to be held this spring, and 60 schools in Illinois have already put together teams. As one school administrator put it, ""We were looking for some other activities that could get kids involved. We thought we could get at a whole different group of kids with this."
And with the vast number of people who have taken up the activity and watch it on TV, I would be willing to bet that 10 years from now we'll see a whole lot more states following the lead of the folks in Illinois.
More on the Importance of Environmental Education
Thoreau Inspires High School in the Woods
Nature Deficit Disorder Tackled at Camp Filled with Power Tools