Illinois sectionals are memorable

Below the Waterline: IHSA sectionals never fail to deliver memorable experience

The outdoors affords those of us who love it an escape. Escape from the day-to-day grind of obligations, responsibility and stress.

Even though we many times do what we do in solitude, there are times when sharing it with someone gives us a shot in the arm even greater than when we do it ourselves. It’s a warm feeling to see others achieve success but even more to experience something we feel deep down even if it’s the first time for them.

Fishing, hunting, camping and just walking a trail or riding a bike is euphoric.

This past week we again held the Illinois High School Association bass fishing sectionals across the state. Twenty-plus sectionals on rivers, lakes, ponds and mud puddles all with one goal — get kids involved in a sport of a lifetime.

Each year I have, at the crack of dawn, got to Evergreen Lake where a group of like-minded volunteers run a high school tournament for 12 to 14 schools, 24 boats and put others first.

My team of Gena Norris, Loren Peters, Eric Varner, Steve Ashenbremer, Ken Sutter and Bruce O’Brien work with Comlara Park staff to pull it off. After years of doing the same job they work like a well-oiled machine getting the kids and coaches lined out with sign-ups, take-offs and weigh-ins.

The amazing thing about it is this same atmosphere goes on across the state. All with the same result. Three teams from each sectional advancing to the state tournament later this month.

It is about the competition and the fishing, but more importantly, it’s about teamwork, having an affinity with the school and trying to make it to state. Yet in the end, it’s about the friendships and the memories….Read more