Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Unexpected Benefits of Fishing

In the vast arena of athletic contests, there are purists who insist an activity can only be termed a "sport" if it involves the use of a ball. There are some who expand this definition to any competition that generates a score, regardless of the equipment used. Others would go so far as to include under the sports umbrella those activities that can be performed while enjoying a favorite libation: bowling and billiards, to name a couple. That being said, fishing remains one activity many still exclude from the category of sports altogether (though its relationship to libations is the stuff of legend).

Making this prohibition, I would submit, is detrimental to the truest definition of a sport. It would label as "non-sportsmen" that legion of individuals yearly plying the fresh waters of this great continent in search of big game fish. In fact, I make the case (based on considerable first-hand evidence) that fishing is not only a sport, it is crucial for the sound development of one's personality, psyche and -- depending on the species sought -- physique.

Long hours spent in silence on the bank of a river or in the back of a boat, casting a baited line into the watery lair of a finny opponent can and does give a person patience. Patience, in turn, can clear the mind of the fast-paced whirl of the world, replacing it with a sense of calm and tranquilitude (so much so that new words even begin to form in one's mind). An internal peace settles in the body and arranges one's constituent parts in such a way that out-of-whack skeletal structures realign, the mind renews and worn muscles take on a health and vigor unseen for decades. These muscles will, of course, be summoned to produce the effort needed to reel in lunkers. And landing lunkers naturally leads to peer accolades, which, in turn, boosts self-esteem and, in the long run, produces an overall better human being.

As you can see, patience won from fishing translates into a richer, fuller life. It's that simple.

Here's an example that might make the point more clearly: a man heading out on vacation with his family, who is stuck in city traffic, and who lacks patience will feel his blood pressure spike, his temples throb, his attitude sour, and his stomach grind. On the other hand, a man in similar circumstances armed with fishing-produced patience will experience only minimal elevation in blood pressure, a slight disruption to his frame of mind, an ability to make light of the situation, and an unflappable constitution.

Now do we see why fishing is so important?

I rest my tackle box.

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