Written and Media by: Thomas Hajny
The Greenville College Bass Fishing team began their first season this last weekend, September 26, 2015, at the McKendree Fall Invitational. Four GC students represented the team: Ray Hingson, Trey Gibson, Daniel Ellenburg, and David Weyers. Hingson caught the catch of the day, which was a 2.56lb bass that landed the team 6th place overall.
The tournament was held in Carlyle, Illinois at Hazlet State Park. Despite it being a rough day out on the lake, they held their own against 27 other teams, some coming out as far from Ohio and Kentucky to compete. The lake itself has been notorious for being a bad fishing hole for competition, but it was not the only thing that the team had to face this weekend. One of the biggest challenges came in the form of an unannounced college wakeboarding team entering the scene. Neither side knew that the other would be there at the lake, but both sides did a great job of cooperating and sharing the space.
Now, for those of you (myself included up until recently) who don’t know how all of this works or weren’t even aware that the team existed in the first place, the Greenville Bass Fishing team was founded last year by Anthony Macon, Ray Hingson, David Weyers, Trey Gibson, Daniel Ellenburg, and Joey Seabaugh. Unlike other sports, students who participate in the sport are expected to come equipped with a majority of their own equipment. This mostly includes rods, lures, bait, and hooks. These guys have a real passion for the sport – you can easily spend over a thousand dollars in equipment before you even hit the water. Of course, the equipment is acquired over time and the big purchases are covered by the school (boats, trip expenses, etc), but I think that it really makes the athletes stand out. Did I mention they also get up and leave extremely early in the morning? Everything is expected to be loaded and ready to go at least an hour or more before the sun rises. This translates to 5 am, which is about when college students are going to bed in some cases.
Likewise, I think that the fishing community as a whole seems very unique. Normally in sporting events, teams are competing against each other, but what I witnessed last Saturday seemed different than that. Everyone seemed to be competing with rather than against each other. Teams will interact with each other while they are out on the water and everyone comes together at the end of the day to have a meal that is provided by the parents. This delicious home cooked food is available for everyone who participated in the tournament and is followed by a raffle giveaway. It is not uncommon to see coaches or parents interacting with members from opposing teams – some are even close friends.
At the end of the day, this is what these guys live for. There are decades of experience amongst the small group of fishermen and they would not have it any other way. They get up in the early hours of the morning and fish their hearts out for several hours. Some days they may come home with nothing to show for, but their first and foremost priority is God and how they can be a light to the world. With this goal in mind, they never truly come back home defeated.