I never quite bought those made-for television flyfishing competitions.

Fly casting … I can see that as a competitive sport, in as much as darts or bowling are sports. But flyfishing is a pastime, not a sport. The threshold should be: If you can smoke and drink beer during said activity, it should not be considered a sport. Well, okay, pole dancing might count.

And golf gets an exemption because people will pay money to watch golfers do their thing. So does pro bass fishing.

But when it comes to flyfishing for trout in the same river, there are good runs and bad ones, and drawing fishing beats is nothing more than a lottery. If we’re hell-bent on making flyfishing a competitive sport, we should judge it qualitatively, not quantitatively. Have all the competitors work the same 200 yards of river, with a panel of five judges on bleachers watching every move.

I can see it now: “Here comes Chet … ooh a nice roll cast right into the run there, on the left side of the river, that’s going to impress. He’s really tuned in here with that Green Drake. Whoops, he slipped and stirred the gravel. Oh, darn, and there’s a tailing loop on that last cast, the judges will take off a half a point for that one … that may well dash the hopes of the Americans …”

Think of the merchandising opportunities … the Patagucci flag-colored vests … the doping scandals … Russians buying off French judges and shafting the Canadians …
Now that’s a sport.