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How the outdoors and other sports contrast

6/3/2005

Ever thought about how the outdoors contrasts with the other sports?

I have.

For a time in my life, I was on an official sports staff at a weekly newspaper and often had to argue the value of outdoor coverage to our readers as opposed to more traditional team sports.

Of course, I was prioritizing with folks who cover the "ball" sports — as in football, baseball, basketball, softball, soccer and even golf.

Though they looked at me suspiciously from time to time, deep in their hearts they knew I was one of them.

And, hey, I like regular sports as well as the next fellow. Heck, I tried to play regular sports, too — before I got so old and fat.

But even so, I always had the feeling the rest of the sports staff did not generally appreciate the outdoors.

Why?

Well, because most of them had never participated, I suppose.

But I did point out one time that all their sports originated from the outdoor pursuits. I mean the basics — things like catching, throwing, aiming and running — were in play as part of hunting and fishing (read: staying alive) long before there was ever a sports game of any kind.

"Heck, in the history of sports, I'm your great-great-great granddaddy," I told a few of my fellow sports reporters one day.

They didn't think this was as funny as I did.

Barring fishing tournaments or shooting competitions, there's generally no scoreboard in the outdoor pursuits. Shoot, recreational participants don't even have any spectators or fans. And, to tell the truth, we like it that way, primarily because we can come home and tell the outcome however we wish it to be.

"The score" is not on "SportsCenter," you know. And it's not really that important to most sportsmen anyway. Although that may be changing with the advent of "BassCenter."

And talk about hope springing eternal: It doesn't just happen with every new season; in the hunting and fishing world, it happens with every trip!

You just never know what's likely to happen, and that also makes hunting and fishing great. It's entirely in the realm of possibility that something amazing will happen every time the hunter or fisherman suits up — and we know it.

I bet that is not the case for fans and players of a ball club that has been perpetually winless cellar dwellers for months or years.

Yep, the anticipation of a new hunting or fishing trip — a clean slate — keeps outdoorsmen in the game.

Then, too, as many sportsmen have likewise noted, the outdoors has a way of giving back.

You also can receive something from every trip.

Sure, sometimes it might be a mess of slab crappies or a venison roast, but most times it's more than that.

The outdoor sports offer an escape to some thing or some place that these days also seem "primal," and I'm not talking about catching or killing. I'm talking about peace of mind.

You don't always get that at the stadium, gym or ballpark, either.

Taylor Wilson is a free-lance writer and editor for Bill Dance Publishing in Brownsville, Tenn. He can be contacted at taylorwilson@billdancefishing.com.