A Reader Vents …

Earlier this week, I got a lengthy email from a reader who needed to vent.  Fortunately for me, I was not the focal point of his anger/frustration; he evidently has had it up to his earbrows with some of the announcers assigned to do college football games.  Here is the way he introduced his frustration:

“ … it seems to me that collegiate game TV [announcing] teams should do some elementary homework on the teams they are covering and the context of the game they are calling and to share it and enhance the particular significance variables that might be present in a particular game.”

That seems to be a fair – – and not an impossibly difficult – – standard by which announcers might be “graded”.  It might be a bit difficult if Powerhouse U is playing Cupcake College for the first time ever, but in normal circumstances …

The reader’s email points out the lack of context often displayed by announcers regarding the game on the field.  Is this an emerging rivalry game?  Is it a revenge game?  Is there “bad blood” – – or “good blood” – – between the coaches?  I find myself in no position to defend many of the announcing teams doing college football games; rarely, do they even seem to be interested in such “angles” to their games.  Many of the announcing teams, to be candid, are not very good.

Then the reader went on to mention a pet peeve of mine – one that I was never sure many other people shared.

“ … in the second half, Mr. Golic and his colleagues went on and on about the ‘damn’ Big Ten and their return to football…a topic that nauseates me (and I have an advanced degree from Iowa and was on the faculty at both Iowa and Indiana) and then went on a long commentary about equality etc. (don’t get me wrong, I support Black Lives Matter …) but all of this while the game was going on in front of them…”

Amen to this!  Announcers are on site to inform the listener/viewer what is happening at that site on that day.  If there is an event in the game or even in the stadium area that relates directly to issues in a larger context in the country, then the announcers can and should “put it on the table”.  However, they are there to present a football game; they are not there to deliver a sermon and they are not there to propagandize their personal social beliefs or those of the network that employs them.  Even if the game in front of them shows a scoreboard that reads 77-3 in the third quarter, sermonizing and traversing mental flights of fancy is inappropriate.  Sermonizing can happen on a personal podcast or in a column published somewhere or as a guest on a sports radio show somewhere.

The problem is that on a national TV broadcast, there are plenty of folks who tuned into THAT game because they wanted to see THAT game and to hear you give them insight and expertise relative to THAT game.  I cannot speak to every TV market in the US, but I do know that in Northern Virginia, I have the choice to tune in to see at least four or five games in any and all of the time slots on every Saturday.  If I tune in to see Whatsamatta U play Catatonic State, it is because I have a reason to want to see THAT game and not the others on my menu.  And I can say with certainty that I never pick my viewing choice based on the probability of social sermonizing by the announcing team.

The email closed with:

“Thanks for listening and wading through this bile, if you did….”

I did; it was not bile because I agree with much of what you said bothered you.  And that should put a small degree of fear in your mind because I am confident that no mental health professional ever told one of his clients to read my stuff and to start thinking as I do…

Moving on …  Olympic weightlifting may be in trouble as an approved sport.  You may wonder how that can be since the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger” would seem to embrace weightlifting to the Nth degree.  What could be the downfall of this sport?  Well, it is a sport regulated by national Committees/Federations and an International Federation while the Olympics are regulated by the IOC.  Given those facts, it should not be a total surprise that the problem here is:

  • Corruption.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) had an interim president, and that woman was just removed from office.  This happened at a virtual board meeting which did not include the president, and which was chaired by the vice-president who immediately assumed the duties of the president at the conclusion of the meeting.  The ousted president claimed that she was removed from office for trying to enact reforms related to “widespread doping and corruption” within the organization.

The IOC is righteously indignant about the allegations of doping and the use of PEDs in the sport of weightlifting notwithstanding its overt posture that it is on top of drug testing and has all the measures in place to regulate it for the Games.  [Aside:  If you believe that, you may not be the dumbest person on the planet, but you damned well better pray that he doesn’t die.]  In addition, there are allegations of “financial shenanigans” within the IWF.  It seems that an audit/investigation turned up an unaccounted for $10.4M and evidence that voters were bribed in various IWF “elections”.  Here is a link to more details on this story…

The IOC can refuse to recognize the IWF as a governing body thereby closing the Olympic  doors to any athletes that emerge from IWF sponsored competitions.  Might they do that?  The cynic in me wonders if that decision depends on finding that missing $10.4M and how it might find its way surreptitiously to the personal accounts of key IOC officials…

Finally, here is another Olympics-related event from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“The Japan Swimming Federation has stripped Daiya Seto, the reigning world champion in two individual-medley events, of his team captaincy for the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught cheating on his wife.

“In other words, he got DQ’d for not staying in his own lane.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………





7 thoughts on “A Reader Vents …”

  1. Regarding the college football TV crews, there just too many games on TV to expect there will be quality talent in the booth for every game. I recommend Wes Durham, who calls ACC and NFL games for Fox and the ACC Network. Like Joe Buck, he is the son of an iconic announcer-father. Wes is top notch.

    1. Yes to Wes Durham…and to his late father…the “Voice of the Tar Heels”. Actually Wes sounds almost exactly like his dad.

    2. Doug:

      I have only heard Wes Durham a couple of times so I do not have enough experience to have an opinion. I will try to pay closer attention in the future.

  2. For the longest time, we used to watch pro football on television while playing rock music.

    And I will not allow anyone in my presence to say that Sports Curmudgeon is “the dumbest person on the planet.”

    1. TenaciousP:

      Thank you for saying I am not the dumbest person on the planet. My long-suffering wife says that I am surely in the top Ten in that category…

  3. If TPTB in sport do not want their announcers climbing on their soapboxes on social issues they should not emblazon the texts on the sidelines. Leave sport for sport

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