Former NFL quarterback-turned-commentator Terry Bradshaw took a swipe at archery being included in schools' curriculum, and called youngsters who choose to participate "fat, lazy kids."
Speaking on a recent Fox News program, Bradshaw said, "Give fat, lazy kids a bow and arrow? They're not getting anything out it other than they can go deer hunting someday."
Bradshaw was trying to make a point that youngsters need more physical exercise in school, but failed in his clumsy attempt at humor by making fun of those who participate in less-strenuous activities such as archery and fishing.
Not all youngsters are physically suited to play contact sports such as football, or have the desire. And it's not an either/or proposition -- students, if they wish and are capable, can play contact sports while also participating in such interscholastic activities as archery, sheet shooting and fishing, and vice-versa.
Bradshaw's comments are sure to raise the ire of such organizations as the Tennessee Wildlife Federation and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which has invested heavily in such interscholastic sports as archery and competitive shooting.
In Tennessee, participation in those programs has soared in recent years, and the number of youngsters involved continues to grow annually.
Thousands of youngsters enter state archery and interscholastic shooting competitions -- the "fat, lazy kids" to which Bradshaw referred.
Fishing classes, usually elective and non-credit, also are growing in popularity and participation.
A TWRA spokesman noted that such classroom instruction and inspiration is important in getting youngsters interested in outdoors pursuits.
"Nowadays a lot of kids don't have parents or relatives who are able to take them fishing and teach them the basics," he said. "That's particularly true as more and more kids live in urbanized communities. That's why getting them interested while they're in school is so important. If we can develop an interest while they're young, there's a good chance it will continue throughout their lives."
Not many youngsters will play football once they're grown, but they can continue to enjoy fishing and other outdoor activities.
As for archery, it requires a great deal of time, practice and dedication to hone competitive skills. It is a low-cost activity that is available to both boys and girls of all ages, and doesn't require excessive physical attributes -- they don't necessarily have to be big and strong, or fast and tall.
Interscholastic archery, like interscholastic shooting, fosters discipline and dedication and provides a competitive sports outlet that a youngster might otherwise not be able to enjoy. Archery in schools is a wholesome, beneficial activity that has plenty of positives and no negatives.
Instead of making fun of youngsters who participate, Bradshaw should be encouraging them.
Maybe somebody should have taken Terry fishing when he was kid.