The USA Fly Fishing Team finished sixth at the World Fly Fishing Championships — cause for some mild celebration. Sadly, Charlie Meyers of the Denver Post (normally a pretty straightforward outdoor writer) drags the survival of the sport into the mix, and — lamentably — even plays the nationalism card :
Just about everyone cringes at the mental image of fly-fishermen splashed out in the logos and hoopla you find at a bass event or a NASCAR race. But what happens when you tastefully dress the participants in red, white and blue, wrap them up in the American flag and send them out to do battle with a bunch of haughty Europeans, some of whom happen to be French?
“Haughty Europeans, some of whom happen to be French?” Is anyone but me wondering why Meyers wants to whip his readers into a nationalistic fervor? (Besides, the anti-French thing is so 2002 ; why not invoke the image of masked terrorists bent on destroying our stocks of freedom-loving trout?)
The “USA against the World” angle is below Meyers.
Later in the article, the success of competitive fly fishing is faintly equated with the very survival of the sport — but it’s done so by industry people who seem most interested in the increased equipment sales a “Bassmasters” revolution in the sport would bring:
The answer depends largely on whether the industry comes to view the team as a catalyst toward accelerated excitement for the sport, in much the same way that tournaments hype merchandising interest in bass fishing.
Whitney McDowell, marketing manager at Simms, values Team USA not only for the promotion of company products, but for the sport as a whole.
“It brings exposure that can do nothing but help,” McDowell said. “We’re dealing with a very impressive group of people.”
Robert Ramsay, president of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association agrees.
“When you look at all the activities in the outdoor arena, those that have mushroomed all include some sort of competitive element,” Ramsay said. “Competition is part of human nature. It’s what evolution is all about.”
A thoughtful person might suggest that a fully evolved being might view the competition with the fish as being enough, but that rarely drives equipment sales the way a Bassmasters Elite Event will.
In other words, compete at fly fishing if you want to (but don’t expect support from a lot of us if you want to hold competitions on public waters), but recognize the sales process driving it.
It may not be about you — or even the benefit of the sport — as much as it is about revenues.
[tags]fly fishing, fishing, charlie meyers, fly fishing tournament, competitive fly fishing, AFFTA[/tags]