Thursday, June 28, 2007

hands down, best article ever

it's not even close. it's like comparing "dirty work" to other comedies from the late 90s. it's like comparing charlie weis to other girthy college football coaches. it's like comparing something that's really awesome to some other stuff that sucks in comparison. you'll see what i mean by all this hype, as soon as you read resident espn outdoorsman jeff mckinnis's article about quite possibly the most dominant athlete in any sport, ever. i'm honestly embarrassed that i'm taking the time to make fun of this article... i just can't help myself.

Raise an eyebrow toward KVD
Is the Sooner Run champion possibly the best ever — in any sport?


never heard of KVD? he's kevin vandam, and he's a professional... bass fisherman. that's right. i don't want to waste my time, or anyone else's, by getting into a lengthy discussion about what is or is not a sport. nascar? bowling? poker? all receive major airtime on "sports" tv networks. all are debatably un-sporty, at least when compared to baseball or hockey or boxing. but fishing? really? what percentage of one's ability to fish well is function of athleticism, and what percentage is a function is fine tuned skill? if it's not a 0/100 split, it's damn close. and there are literally thousands of competitive activities out there that share that same 0/100 split. many of them are not sports. that's all i'm saying.

If this article gets no further than the core fishing fans, then I'm only preaching to the choir.

While I hope the choir enjoys it, I'm really hoping that someone else out there stumbles across it, and it raises at least one eyebrow. With that said, let me assure you that I'm not a writer, I'm just a guy with some thoughts about professional bass fishing that I just have to spout off about.

both my eyebrows are completely unraised as of right now. but i suppose that could change. spout away, jeff.

I am an absolute sports nut. I drive to work every morning with "Mike & Mike" on the radio, and ESPNews is on my TV all day, with its lower right-hand corner giving me "breaking news" as it happens in the sports world. Yes, I know I need to get a life.

I'm pretty smart about my sports, and I know that the reality is bass fishing will never be a major sport, but it absolutely can become super strong in the "niche" category if for no other reason than for the amount of people across the nation who play the game.

i'm going to go waaaaaaaaay out on a limb and say kevin tragically overestimates the number of americans who "play" bass fishing. do you think more people fish than bowl? than play poker? than play pool? i'm not a fisherman myself, nor did i have any as friends growing up, but if you put a gun to my head and made me guess fishing's place in that hierarchy (with pool, bowling, poker, and other "fringe sports" that get tv time) among the american public, i'd have to put it dead last. furthermore, in terms of enjoyability, fishing seems to be a highly personal kind of thing. i think you can get a certain level of enjoyment from watching an amazing bowler finish off a 285 game, or watching that crazy looking asian lady sink a ridiculous 4 ball combo (everyone knows who i'm talking about, right? that lady is ALWAYS playing whenever womens pool is on). but watching someone fish... i mean, how do you enjoy that? the weigh-ins might be somewhat interesting, but as for the competition as a whole, i'm postulating that fishing is crappy television. even if you yourself love to fish, i can't see how you'd get any enjoyment out of watching it.

ok enough stupid analysis of fishing. let's just allow mckinnis to go ahead and say a lot of hilariously outrageous stuff about fishing. that was, after all, why i made this post in the first place and hyped it up so much in my intro.

One more thing before I get to the point. If the sports world knew how hard it is to excel as a professional bass fisherman, these writings would be more impressive. If you had any idea how hard these guys practice in all weather conditions, how hard they compete in all weather conditions, you would be amazed.

if i knew how to insert an mp3 of a sitcom laugh track that played immediately after you read that, i would do so. seriously- these guys MAKE THEIR LIVING CATCHING FISH. you have no idea how hard that is.

If you just had a clue of the hand-eye coordination, the decision making, the stamina and the vision and instincts these bass pros are blessed with, you would stop thinking about Jason Giambi and his steroid issues at least for a few minutes.

the laugh track i was talking about would continue for a while here, as well.

as a side note, i have this friend that's effing ridiculous at guitar hero II on playstation. should he get some recognition for that? you have no idea how amazing his hand-eye coordination, decision making, stamina, vision, and instincts are.

Very few people sense those things, so outside of the "choir," I'll be viewed as just another bass nutt. Here it goes anyway.

Bass fishing is not the next NASCAR because we don't get 100,000 people to our weigh-ins.

bass fishing is not the next nascar because people would rather watch cars drive 180 mph and crash into each other than watch some dude sit in a boat and fish.

Kevin VanDam is not exactly the Tiger Woods of the sport. No disrespect to Tiger, but KVD dominates more, in a more demanding sport.

i cannot put into words how funny that sounds. i'm not saying that i know, 100% objectively, that pro golf is more demanding than pro fishing. what i am saying is- that last sentence is hilarious.

Wow! Here we go. Kevin VanDam is the point of this outburst.

Why isn't KVD ever in that "breaking news" box on ESPNNews?

i'm having a hard time coming up for an answer to this question; every time i try to ponder it, "turkey in the straw" and "dueling banjos" just keep playing on repeat in my brain.

Actually, I know. It's because it's just not on anyone's radar.

But why isn't it?

I know that answer as well. Most people just don't understand what KVD is accomplishing. In the world of professional bass fishing, most competitors strive for good finishes and maybe one win every 5 years. I'm betting that professional golf is about the same.

rafael nadal recently set an all-time record by winning like 80 straight tennis matches and 12 straight tournaments on clay, and most people didn't hear about that. why? because people weren't aware of it? the executives at the major sports news outlets had no idea that it had happened? false. because no one really gives a shit about tennis, thus it's not worth those networks' airtime and print space to talk about it. now, take this concept that the sports media doesn't really cover much tennis, and extend it to fishing...

Well, KVD has won two out of the last three Bassmaster Elite Series events, and please be aware that the field he competes against is hands down the strongest there has ever been. It's the big leagues of bass fishing.

"the big leagues of bass fishing" sounds like "the big leagues of pogo stick jumping" or "the big leagues of juggling".

Then there's winning a Bassmaster major, which for an angler's career can compare to a golfer winning one of its majors.

Two years ago, KVD won three out of the four major tournaments. When I think about that, I realize it's unfathomable. Can't be done. Where in the world is a Sports Illustrated writer? How do all the bass feats things go unnoticed?

how indeed! i'm dying here. is this guy serious? the further i go into this article, the more i keep checking my calendar to make sure it's not april 1st. also, tiger woods won 4 majors in a row in 2000-2001.

When an NFL team wins a Super Bowl one time, it's in the mind of a sports fan, forever. Mr. VanDam has won the bass fishing Super Bowl (Bassmaster Classic) twice in recent years. So you'd think someone from Fox's Best Damn Sports Show Period would be all over that.

seriously, mckinnis, i'm at work here. you're going to get me in trouble. people are giving me looks. of course, the irony here is that BDSSP (as those of us in the know refer to it) is so dumb, i wouldn't put it past them to report on fishing.

Take KVD out of the mix and I could make the statement that bass fishing, unlike other sports, can't be dominated because no other sport deals with a live, unpredictable creature — the bass. Kevin is dominating it, though. He is doing the unthinkable. He's defeating Mother Nature.

just like that british guy with the show on discovery channel about surviving ridiculous situations in the wild does. the difference- the british guy is entertaining to watch.

Now, you might be wondering, what difference does all this make to me? Well I guess my motives are selfish because I'm obsessed with elevating the sport of bass fishing. The quicker everyone sees that we have, dare I say it, a freak of nature on our hands, the sooner and stronger the spotlight will hit this very unique and special sport.

jai alai is a very unique and special sport. i don't think they're going to be attracting any spotlight anytime soon, and they're definitely in line in front of fishing in my book.

KVD has held up the winner's trophy 13 times in his young career and is by far the leading money winner in Bassmaster history with $2.5 million, and I could continue listing his accomplishments, but I won't. I'm stopping right here.

i'm sure kevin appreciates that. actually, i just thought about him sitting at a computer reading this article and just being really embarrassed by the hyperbole. that would be great. if he has a website, i'd love for him to release a statement on it along the lines of:

"sorry some of you read that outrageous piece on espn.com about me. i promise you, i don't take myself that seriously. i'm great at fishing and i enjoy my life, but i try to keep it all in perspective. also, i have never given nor will ever give an interview to jeff mckinnis because he's insane."

I could also tell you why I think he's reaching these heights, but I'm going to leave that to someone else. I will say, don't believe the "cape and phone booth story," though.

thank you jeff. i will be sure not to confuse kevin vandam, real life pro fisher, with superman, fictional character, no matter how many people insist they acquire their prowess the same way.

No, the why and how is not important to me. That he's doing it right before everyone's eyes is important to me.

Kevin VanDam is a young, clean cut gentleman, who is loved and respected by all his competitors. He's extremely smart about life and sees the big picture when it comes to his sport of bass fishing.

the big picture hopefully being- "man, i can't believe i make my living catching fish while wearing a jacket with 350 different corporate logos on it. this is awesome."

To top it all off, he's blessed with a wonderful family. Kevin and his wife Sherry have twin sons, and like most bass pros, struggle with being away most of the time.

they also deal with the potential danger of kevin one day being tricked into going on an ill-fated fishing trip with roy scheider, richard dreyfus, and robert shaw in pursuit of a gigantic shark.

Say this is starting to sound like I'm after the job of being KVD's agent, doesn't it? No way! I just want to see the Bassmaster Elite Series advance one more step, which can happen if the sports world gets a feel for the path this talented angler is traveling right now.

So, hey USAToday! Come on Greeney and Golic (Mike & Mike in the Morning). What do you say People Magazine? This is possibly the most dominating competitor that any sport has ever seen.

i'm speechless.

Someone please show and tell us what KVD is all about. Raise at least one eyebrow.

the answer, from everyone except people who already know about and love fishing: no.

3 comments:

pnoles said...

Perhaps "fishing" should be a label for this post, because we're so likely to write about it again, because so many people care about it.

Just curious...how does one "win" fishing tournaments? Catch the biggest one? Catch the highest net weight in fish in the smallest amount of time?

Like, even if the subject is terrible, he could have explained what this guy has to do to be "great". All "KVD" is reported as doing is "winning tournaments" in the "sport" "called" "fishing" "."

Chris said...

What a disaster of an article...

But I believe you were refering to Jeanette "The Black Widow" Lee as the pool player. She's got something going on.

And have you ever seen the juggling competitions on ESPN2? Those guys are way cooler and more hardcore than KDV. Get Jeff McKinnis to the next National Juggling Invitational.

Chris W said...

remember when michael jordan scored 40 points with a 102 degree fever?


he was a fucking pussy

signed,

kvd's maw maw