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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

An IHSA idea worth backing

February 12, 2008 at 11:02 PM

I’m still mad at the Illinois High School Association. Probably always will be for changing to four-class basketball and forcing me to say goobye to Class A hoops forever.

But I’ve got to give the IHSA credit for the decision to start a prep bass fishing tournament in the spring of 2009 (pending the securing of a sponsor I think they already have in the bag). Sure there’s a mountain of logistical problems to work through. Sure some of those decisions will take time to iron out.

More important than the fine details is that creating prep bass fishing will give a whole new group of kids an IHSA extracurricular activity in which they can get involved. Maybe you’re a kid who would rather fish than play baseball. Well now there’s a chance to fish for your team. And maybe now that pretty girl who thought you were just a fishing bum will think you are a fishing stud because you, “Made the fishing team” or better yet, “Made state in fishing.”

I’ve heard plenty of guys say they wish such a tournament had been around when they were in high school. I’ve also heard plenty of people offer to serve as fishing coaches. Some are joking. Many others are serious.

If this is done anywhere close to properly, I really think the IHSA will have a hit on its hands. If that’s the case, it won’t be long before surrounding states follow suit.

Now if we could just go back to two classes in basketball ...



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