February 9, 2010

HS sport? Alabama may add bass fishing

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Vermont has snowboarding. Florida has weightlifting. New Jersey has fencing.

Hawaii? Try air rifllery, judo and canoe paddling.

With so many state high school associations sponsoring sports that meet the local flavor, it only makes sense that Alabama would consider another addition to its sports lineup: Bass Fishing.

"It's been discussed," said Alan Mitchell, an assistant director at the Alabama High School Athletic Association. "We don't know how many schools would be interested, but we have a lot of rivers and fishing opportunities so I guess it makes sense."

The head of the Alabama High School Bass Fishing Club Tournament Series certainly thinks so. In fact, founder Tim Tidwell said he hopes the three-event series, which starts on March 6 in Decatur, Ala., will get things going.

"There's tremendous excitement about making bass fishing an official high school sport in Alabama," Tidwell told The Times Daily in Florence, Ala. "Kids and school officials all over the state are excited. This thing is really going to snowball after the Decatur tournament."

Mitchell said the state association gets an annual report from school with sport addition requests; lacrosse and bowling also have been mentioned. He said if the number reaches 10 percent (about 40 or so), the sport will be added for a trial run.

If it's added, it won't be the first state to sanction the sport. One other has fishing, but it's not Florida, Maine, Mississippi or Alabama. It's landlocked Illinois, which introduced the sport to great success a year ago. More than 200 schools compete this year.

Mitchell, who has seen it all in his 31 years with the association, welcomes fishing and thinks it would be a big hit with competitors that is.

"I'm not really sure how many people would actually watch it," he said.

And if it starts holding fishing events, who is to say there won't be a push for another outdoor sport - hunting?

Mitchell could only laugh, before adding, "If enough people wanted to do it "

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