Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

We're still here to provide that push out the door

Every June, outdoor writers from across the nation meet to discuss the state of the industry and award those they deem worthy of recognition. For the fourth year in a row, the St. Petersburg Times was named the best outdoors section in the country.

The past year has been tough for newspapers. Many of my colleagues have watched in frustration as their space has shrunk or disappeared. Many have been reassigned to other beats. Some have lost their jobs.

Fortunately, here at the Times, the commitment to outdoors coverage has not wavered over the past two decades. When I started this job, most outdoors reports focused strictly on fishing and hunting. These "hook and bullet" sections, as they were often called, were the mainstays of the outdoors coverage.

But times have changed. People still hunt and fish, but they also backpack and kayak. The outdoors is no longer the exclusive realm of middle-aged white men. More than ever before, women, children and minorities are involved in a wider range of outdoors sports.

Recent data from a Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association survey shows that many non-traditional outdoors sports are growing by leaps and bounds. Most of these sports are seen as family/social activities, which is not surprising because the economic downturn has prompted many people to look for entertainment closer to home.

The fastest growing sports, according to SGMA data comparing 2007 to 2008, include ultimate Frisbee (up 20.8%), backpacking (18.5%), surfing (18.2%), trail running (15.2%) and bicycling on non-paved surfaces (10.2%).

The Great Outdoors continue to draw millions of Americans each year. More than 40 million people went freshwater fishing last year, according to SGMA. Another 33 million went camping and 32 million went for day hikes. What is the most popular "outdoors" sport in the country? Walking, with 111 million participants.

Now some of you may say, "Wait a minute … walking isn't an outdoors sport. Walking is what you do between your air-conditioned car and your air-conditioned office."

But I disagree. I think any activity — including scuba diving, sea kay- aking, wind surfing — that gets you outside and moving should be considered an outdoors sport.

June 13 was National Get Outdoors Day. Hopefully, millions across the nation used this as an excuse to head out and get some fresh air. Timex, which makes a variety of sport and expedition watches, surveyed Americans of all walks of life in connection with this event.

The vast majority of those surveyed (87%) said that they feel they should take time every week to get outdoors. Most (72%) said that it would probably leave them feeling less "stressed." Sadly, however, roughly one third of those surveyed (35%) said they would probably have less opportunity to enjoy the outdoors because of the economy.

The next generation, the so-called "Millennials," those surveyed in the 18 to 24 age group, are not taking advantage of the outdoors. According to the Timex survey, they spend an average of five hours a day on the computer, three hours a day socializing with friends and fewer than two hours a day outdoors.

About one in five of those who responded said the main reason they don't get outside is because they don't know what to do or where to go.

That's where we come in. We will continue to provide you with the best possible outdoors and fitness coverage in the nation. Hopefully, we will make you stop, think and perhaps even try something new.

Who knows where it may lead you? In March, I ran into a fellow on the beach who was about to paddle his sea kayak from St. Petersburg to Key Largo. A decade ago, he would have never dreamed of doing something so adventurous. But, one day he read a story in the Times about a race called the Water Tribe Challenge, which inspired him. Now that's an accomplishment we're proud of.

We're still here to provide that push out the door 07/02/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 3, 2009 9:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  5. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)