Here in Wisconsin, and other bitterly cold regions of the world, it’s getting to that point in winter where we begin asking ourselves questions like, “Am I really this sad?” – “Have I officially crossed the line from beer hobbyist to alcoholic?” – “Will the rest of my life suck as bad as it does right now?” – “Will I ever be able to fit in my lycra again?”
All jokes aside, the tail end of winter can be one of the most difficult times of the year, especially for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Acronym coincidence? I think not.. So we turn to odd activities to keep our mind off the cold, short, and dark days of the season. Some people fish, and some people polar plunge. Some people catch up with their neighbors, and others take to self-deprecation as their way of coping with their depression.
I came across an article this morning titled, Dope Tests in Ice Fishing? No, Beer Doesn’t Count. I thought to myself, “Oh no, Lance has moved to ice fishing and now USADA is on his ass.
So anyways, a fascinating article about a very stupid initiative of USADA.
WAUSAU, Wis. — The ice fishermen spent a week on the frozen lake, and on the last day, after emptying perch and bluegill from their buckets and scrubbing bait from their hands, several winners of the World Ice Fishing Championship were ushered into their rooms in the Plaza Hotel.
There, an official from the United States Anti-Doping Agency ordered them to provide urine samples for a surprise test to detect steroids and growth hormones — drugs not normally associated with the quiet solitude of ice fishing.
At first I thought maybe they were testing the fish for growth hormones, which could make sense in some wonderfully preverse way, but no, they are actually piss testing the fisherman themselves. Insane. At least they don’t test for beer.
“We do not test for beer, because then everybody would fail,” said Joel McDearmon, chairman of the United States Freshwater Fishing Federation.
I sit here, trying to make any sense of this. Are these fisherman athletes that would benefit from drugs? If so, I’ve never, in my limited ice fishing experience, witnessed a fellow angler in any form of athletic physique. Well, maybe this guy.
In sports like ice fishing, where speed and strength are not necessarily at a premium, an agent from an international antidoping federation can seem like, well, a fish out of water.
After all, ice fishing is not a particularly physical sport. Most days are spent crouched low around the ice hole in snow pants, kneepads and improvised shin guards made out of foam. The hardest part is staying warm — most anglers forgo gloves in order to better feel fish tugging on the rods.
Fishing officials puzzled over whether doping would even help anglers jigging for panfish, roughfish and crappie.
“We kind of joked about that,” McDearmon said. “You’re obviously not going to have anybody out there oxygen doping or something like that.”
Bill Whiteside, a previous gold medal winner from Eau Claire, Wis., said that physical strength often had little to do with fishing success.
Well no shit.
Secrecy is key. Many anglers keep fanny packs around their waist, where they stash their fish with the furtiveness of a shoplifter in order to keep rivals from noticing and encroaching on a fruitful hole in the ice.
Fish in the fanny pack. It’s like a syringe in the Coke can, but stinkier.
At the end, the Americans finished fourth, thanks largely to Chad Schaub, 30, of Greenville, Mich., one of only two competitors to catch 25 fish, Wisconsin’s legal limit.
The Russians were the clear winners, with a four-and-a-half-pound haul.
When the final results were announced inside a hotel ballroom, the Russian fishermen leapt from their seats and exchanged hugs in a scrum.
As the dancing and cheering quieted down, four of the anglers were asked to come forward and take the elevator to their rooms — a private place where they could concentrate on providing urine samples. [.]
Well, looks like it’s time to call Michele.
Honestly, I’m confused about this whole thing. Part of me wants to go ice fishing, but part of me tells me to stay far, far away. Then I came across this…
See you on the lake.