let’s talk about sports, baby

In Beer, Communication, News and Politics, Sports on January 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge sports fan.  I will watch any sport, except the Olympics, because that shit is boring.  It’s like 30 seconds of action and an hour of heartwarming stories about athletes overcoming adversity.  Blah blah blah.  I did watch hockey in the last Winter Games, because that was fun, and the only storyline was how kick-ass the United States finally was.

But in general, I’m all up for some sports-watching.  I have some sort of inherent coaching gene that enables me to have suggestions regardless of my knowledge of the sport.  I was at an indoor soccer match- not my strongest forte as far as sports go- but I still had plenty of advice for the goalie.  I can’t help but have ideas for athletes on how to be better at their job.  It’s kind of like childless people who know how to raise your personal children.  Those who can’t do, teach?  I cannot perform any sports-related activity without severely injuring and/or embarrassing myself.

There is only one thing that can take away from my complete enjoyment of a game.  Actually, two things, maybe three.  The announcers.  Whether they are repeating the same cliches (This player is clutch!), or slobbering over a particular player (I’m pretty sure that Tim Tebow should have a restraining order on Thom Brennaman), they never have enhanced my sports-watching experience.  You can’t fill air time with airheads, but that doesn’t stop networks from hiring former players or coaches who have nothing to say and have to make it up as they go along.

For an example of how truly bad sports announcers can be, I’d like to share with you an actual conversation that was featured in an NBA game I was watching.  Jeff Van Gundy (granted, the Van Gundys are not known for their tact) said he thought his family came over on the Pinta.  Then he asked Mark Jackson (who is black) what boat his ancestors took to America.  Mark Jackson, being a professional, overcame the temptation to make a statement, and just replied, “The Santa Maria.”

I wish that was the end of the story.  Van Gundy then proceeded to go on for about 5 minutes (which is an eternity in TV time) about how surprised he was that Mark Jackson caught the reference and how he must have paid attention in history class.  To recap, he first asked a black man how his ancestors got to America, and then proceeded to condescendingly compliment the same man on his knowledge of basic American history.  And he got paid handsomely to do so.

Often, when I’m watching major sporting events, I keep my Tweetdeck up.  There are a couple of gentlemen on the Twitter that make up for the nonsense being spewed on air.  DJ Gallo, the man behind sports satire site Sports Pickle, is The Onion’s answer to sports news.  He loves sports, but has perspective.  In that, it’s still just boys playing a game.  Mike Freeman, who writes for CBS Sports, is another favorite.  I would much rather listen to these two talk than any professional sportscaster.  I’d also prefer watching them (hellooooo nurse!).

ESPN and sports radio and game broadcasts are facing the same problem as cable news: how do we fill all this space?  It becomes a matter of quantity over quality (I cannot keep track of how many ESPN channels there are).  Since there is less reporting in sports (usually, they either won the game or they didn’t), there’s more analysis.  Sportscenter is shown 12 times per day, and then they intersperse it with Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and (excuse me while I hold back vomit) The Jim Rome Show, where people talk about the things they talked about on Sportscenter.

I love you, sports.  But mostly with the mute on.

  1. The all time best quote,
    “once he squares up his shoulders and starts running downhill hes unstoppable!”

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