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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Accolades of Bass Fishing

Everywhere is somewhere
And nowhere is near
Everybody got somebody
with their wine and their beer


For years Nascar has been the butt of many jokes with the red necks, the “sport”, and knowing that people enjoy cars driving in circle. This is all true but it keeps growing in popularity and it’s quickly becoming the 2nd most popular sport.

Personally, I’ve actually been watching a little myself.

No, okay, okay hold on! I only watch about 20 minutes at a time just to see Darrell Waltrip* spontaneously combust from a three wide car turn and to bond with my dad a bit. Then there’s the secret passion for a huge thirty car pileup with cars flipping and turning and burning.

*I know this guy because he's the giddy NASCAR guy, and not because I'm a fan

My Dad loves Nascar to the point where he attends races, networks with everyone, and has a shrine at work with die cast metal cars. Every now and then I’ll come home and watch the race with my dad because it’s nice to take part in something your dad loves. I’ll ask him questions about the race and the drivers and he’ll answer them without any sort of condescension.

Little by little I’m starting to understand NASCAR to the point that I’ll make fun of it just a little bit instead of prancing around the house yelling about how stupid it is.

Plus NASCAR is the one of the few events on HD. That’s my main excuse.

There is another “sport” that I believe exceeds NASCAR. Actually it doesn’t exceed, it tops the scale in the ‘I just don’t get it’ department and that is none other than bass fishing and the Bass master Classic which was last weekend in Pittsburgh.

I’ll be careful with this because I don’t know anyone who is as passionate for bass fishing (the ‘league’ not the actual fishing) as the people depicted on ESPN.

This is crazy so bare with me.


So the best bass fisherman around the country come together for a weekend and try to capture the Bass Master Champtionship Trophy. These fishermen are just that, fishermen but they differ than regular fishermen in that they
A. Have sponsors
B. Have fans

They are decked out in what looks to be a racecar jacket with sponsors all over with the main sponsor covering the torso. They also have the same sponsored cap with a sunburnt face.

Anyway, the league (or organization or whatever) rents out the local arena for which a huge stage is built with runways for trucks where the hockey boards are usually located. This last weekend the Bass master Classic was held at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh where the Penguins play.

So at some point during the weekend fans (I believe) purchase tickets to sit inside the arena where two huge jumbo screens are showing highlights of the year in bass fishing and they watch the weigh-in.

(blink:blink)

Meanwhile the fishermen are fishing with some sort of time frame on the local river trying, hoping to catch come delicious bass, which is fine EXCEPT THAT THEIR FANS ARE ON THE RIVER WITH THEM!!!!!! Let’s say that Joe Shmo was my favorite bass fisherman, If I were a true fan I would take my boat and anchor off right next to Joe and watch him fish. When the time came that he caught a keeper, I would jump up and down and cheer loudly for the guy.

(blink:blink)

Because that’s what some of the bass fishermen fans do.

**let me interject here, I’m not making fun of bass fishing because it would be making fun of fishing in general. I understand the nature and know how enjoyable what it is. However, I would never scream and yell if I caught something because ‘you don’t want to scare the fish away’.

So why would anyone be this crazy of a fan? How does one become a better bass fisherman than another. How does one become a favorite if they’re not related to you in any way?

This, I find crazy!

*****

Anyway, the fishermen have a time frame and they need to dock their boat at a certain time where it put on a trailer and on its’ way to the arena.

Once the truck and boat reach the arena this emcee, in the way of MTV vee-jay, comes and introduces him as the truck comes inside the arena with the fishermen on the boat as it is pulled alongside the stage. The place is dark with spotlights moving everywhere, strobes flashing around the stage, and cock rockin music being played

“EVERYBODY, HERE’S JIM PERRY!” (I just made that name up)

*crowd cheers*

“Now Jim, it sounds like you’ve had one crazy day on the river! How many didja get?

“I caught 3 beauties!”

“AAAAWWWWW YEAH! HERE WE GO! JIM‘S GETTING JIGGY WITH IT!” he was throwing out all the clich├ęs from today and yesterday.

*now they weigh the fish*

“JIM’S OVERTAKEN FIRST! Now Jim, what is the most important trait on catching bass?”
**and I swear to god he said this,
“Well, it’s about 105% mental. You just gotta believe in yourself.”

(OH. MY. GOD. I jumped out of my couch! I wish I taped it because he did not just say that about fishing. ‘105% mental’ he’s probably right because who the fuck would say that other than an offensive lineman?)

So they finally determine the winner and he comes on stage and lifts the huge trophy over his head when Kick Start My Heart by Motley Crue is cued with the fans cheering wildly with flashbulbs galore, and a steady stream of five of those huge sparkler, pyrotechnic machines are blazing behind him.

The fisherman is nearly crying as he makes his way onto the boat he won with is family and they are trucked around the arena as all the fans are giving him a standing ovation. The fisherman is bombarded with a steady stream of confetti and streams as the ovation lasts for about ten minutes.

I was watching all this in shock. It was like a car wreak, I just couldn’t change the channel because I cannot believe that people would care so much as to being bass fishing fans in the same way as there are Vikings fans or Twins fans.

I couldn’t even believe there were personal sponsors for such an event. I mean the act of fishing is the generally the same (save for the jigs and bait) for most of the fish, so why would bass be that different than pike or sturgeon, or carp, or muskie?

Two years ago the winner caught a huge bass at the last minute and he screamed at the top of his lungs.

“AAAAAHHHHHHH, AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! NEVER GIVE UUUUUUPPP! NEVER GIVE UUUUUUUUUUUUP!”

Good lord. I can understand one being a non-professional bass fisherman (or as I like to call them, fisherman) and just enjoy the “sport” so much as to watch others fish, but not to the point where they’d cheer for certain fishermen. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the fans participate in fantasy bass fishing.

Give me a god damn break!

After watching this I had a whole new respect for my dad for not being a bass fishermen fan because if he were, I’d be going crazy.

My favorite part of the tournament was when the top five fishermen were standing in the dark around the arena, hands on hips, in a smoke filled background, with bright light behind them giving off the silhouette of a ’standing tall’ brawny man. They were scattered around the arena and introduced as if they were some sort of Greek god.

This is definitely worth watching like any ‘dance off’ would be.

I’m going to need to watch next year to see how much worse it gets. People will be worshiping these bass fishermen before long.

1 comment:

Hog said...

Bass fishing on tv is bad, but I seen the dumbest televised "sport" on ESPN over the weekend.

Saturday night I was flipping around the dial and I stop on ESPN to witness the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating live from Las Vegas.

They had play by play and sideline reporters! I couldn't make this up if I tried. Did anyone else catch this?