Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sports Talk: Taking Sports to the Woods

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Nov. 13, 2013. 
Snow?? Really?? I suppose the fall athletes should be at least somewhat grateful their seasons have come to an end. It's one thing to play or run on cold nights here and there--that is expected--but snow is supposed to be reserved for winter when we can enjoy the warm comfort of gymnasiums!

So the fall sports came to a close and basketball is taking off. Last week's excitement over the first college games of the season was evident through my Facebook feed. However, while we're waiting on our own local Rebel hoops seasons to begin, last weekend marked the beginning of another sport--and one that isn't held indoors avoid of weather: hunting season.

I myself have never been hunting and wonder when that first time experience might be. (I've seen plenty of friends post online just this year bragging about taking on their first hunting excursion... living here it's bound to happen for me sometime, right?)

In addition to the UK/UofL basketball chatter on social media, I also saw the surfacing of many friends in their camo gear and neon orange and many of them were accompanied by their prize shot--already! Opening weekend and you've already gotten something? That's impressive to me... It seems the people I know or ever talk to who plan to hunt never have that kind of luck.

I remember my dad hunting when I was much younger and was always excited about the idea and I'm not even sure what it was that I found so cool about deer season. Maybe it was simply that he was doing something besides working his garden or splitting wood... But I think it was more thef knowing that he was out there somewhere. When I'd hear shots fire off in our valley I'd wonder if it was him or a neighboring hunter. I'd then wait to see if he showed up any time soon with big news.

But it wasn't just the thought of him bringing home a buck that intrigued me about hunting. It was the whole ordeal. He would get up so, so early--when it was still so cold even if there wasn't snow on the ground. He'd suit up and have extra gizmos to wear and strap on to help keep him warm, knowing he'd be sitting still for hours possibly. It was like preparing for a camping trip but more intense even if it was for a condensed time period. Usually he was gone by the time I awoke and I just knew he was out there among the trees, perched high in his stand, patiently waiting.

I think dealing with the cold would be the biggest struggle for me, but aside from that, I believe the opportunity to sit among the natural world and observe is a special thing. We reside in such a beautiful part of this world and there is so much to take in and appreciate about God's work. Having never hunted myself I cannot say I know anything to be true, but I would guess hunting tries your patience as well, but can also calm the spirit.

In addition to the time demand of hunting, one of the main reasons I've never taken up the sport is the aftermath. I'm not someone who is bothered by the idea of shooting and killing an animal. It's not like I fool myself into thinking the meat I eat everyday was not once alive and then killed for my feasting pleasure. It's more the fact a deer is a LOT of meat and I wouldn't want it to go to waste but I surely would not want to have to deal with it. I also do not know what on earth I would do with that much meat. (A lot of jerky, probably... I love that stuff!)

Well, this year will not be the one I get out and have my first hunting experience, but  that's OK for now. I'll just be sure to wear my hunter orange when I'm out and about. I'll keep up with my friends who are lurking among the perfectly wooded terrain we have in this area and see who has luck so I know who to go to for advice when my time comes. Good hunting, friends!

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