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An Open Letter To NBC

Canadian GP 1999 2

Marie has been an Formula 1 fan for 30 years – ever since she fell in love with the sport watching the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix (won by Keke Rosberg).  Her favorite race commentators have to be Murray Walker and Sir Jackie Stewart.  She has been known to do her own color commentary from the comfort of her sofa, as her husband and kids can attest. (And I’ll confess to not knowing there was a network called Speed. -ed.)

And just like that, two networks broke my heart….  I heard the news on twitter (where else, these days).  Formula 1 is moving from Speed to NBC.  Apparently, FOX is doing a way with Speed, making it another all-sport channel.

So here is my open letter to NBC from a F1 fan who’s been tuning in for 30 years. Read more…

Why I Hate the Olympics

London 2012

Before I go any further, I want to be clear that I am a proud American.

I vote.

I pay taxes.

I eat more fried food than Colonel Sanders.

And I hate the Olympics. Read more…

Would-Be Cavs Announcer Ted Williams Headed To Rehab

Ted Williams, the homeless man with the amazing radio voice, had a close encounter with Dr Phil this week. As it often does with Dr Phil, it ended in a trip to rehab.

The would-be NBA announcer was panhandling by the side of the road when a journalist decided to videotape him as he displayed his remarkable radio voice.  A YouTube post later, the video went wildly viral and the world changed for Williams, who has struggled with alcohol and drug addictions for decades but claimed he has been sober for 2 years. During that time he has also generated himself a hefty rap sheet.  He became an instant sensation, literally sleeping on the street one night and sleeping in a $too-much-a-night hotel the next. Offers for voiceover work poured  in, from NFL Films, Kraft, MSNBC. The Cleveland Cavaliers offered him an announcer job — and a house.

However, the story does not end on that fairytale note. On an episode of the Dr. Phil show airing today, Williams admits that he has been drinking daily since his whirlwind of fame began.

While this is disappointing, it is also not surprising in the least. Even for someone who has not struggled with the demons of addiction, the stresses of instant fame and the media scrutiny can be overpowering.  For someone who has had to fight them, the temptation to give in to those demons must be devastating. It’s doubtful Williams had any professional help to deal with his addictions previously, and on the street it must be nearly impossible to make any life changes.

But now, Williams is incredibly lucky. He has access to a top-notch rehab facility (Dr Phil. doesn’t cheap out) and the prospects of jobs and a bright future will still lie ahead of him, guaranteed.

That video may have quite literally saved his life.

Williams has demons to fight – his own. Amends to make – to many people he hurt during his years of addiction. And if he can get past those, he’ll also have plays to announce and mac and cheese to shill.  Let’s hope he makes it.

The Sounds of World Cup Soccer: Vuvuzela Watch Part One

Confused by the World Cup buzz? I was.

I’m not talking about the incessant yapping of the media and everyone watching and even the people who claim not to be watching who seem obsessed with talking about the World Cup anyway. I’m talking vuvuzelas, baby.

Mind you I did not know what these horns were called until yesterday. I’ve watched exactly no soccer games in my life but I’ve been watching the World Cup since the opening ceremonies started because:

a. I am currently spending a lot of time on my couch working from home.

b. I appear to be on a quest to expose myself to every single sport, even those in which I previously had zero interest. This includes timbersports, which I just learned are a thing.

c. When you hashtag #worldcup on Twitter, a little soccer ball pops up in your Tweet. I am easily amused by this sort of thing, and will be lobbying for a little Twitter puck next year during hockey playoffs for sure.

On the first day, I enjoyed watching the South African team celebrate their goal against Mexico, the first goal of the whole shebang in what would end as a 1-1 tie game.

I am seriously considering adding that little dance to my just-because daily repertoire.

So things started off enjoyably, but after a few hours, the low, droning buzz in the stadium that seemed to get louder and louder as the games wore on started to get to me.

Bzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Long, relatively uneventful stretches of men kicking a ball around and bopping it with their heads. Bzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

OMG CICADAS SWARMING AROUND MY HOUSE OMG STFU GET THEM OFF ME.

Then everyone on Twitter started talking about the noise, and complaining about the noise, and how it was distracting and unnerving and why was it happening? So I knew I wasn’t alone, which is nice, because it’s sad to bitch alone and validation that I’m not hearing things is always useful too.

Vuvuzelas FTW! Glasses not necessarily included.

Vuvuzelas FTW! Glasses not necessarily included.

These vuvuzela horns — find me a more fun word to say, I challenge you — are a traditional part of South African soccer games. Culturally speaking, I think that’s pretty interesting. But their noise output averages about 127 decibels — louder than a chain saw, says this former audiology major — and that’s a lot to listen to for an hour and a half straight. FIFA considered banning them for the Cup but the South African football association were understandably not down.

Here’s Mike and Mike complaining about them.

A site called Ban the Vuvuzela is up already, with the “against” camp firmly in the lead. World Cup organizer Danny Jordaan caused a bit of a stir Sunday when the BBC reported that  he insinuated that the horns, which have been accused of distracting players, the audience and newscasters, may be banned. But reports quickly surfaced that that would only happen in the case of a vuvuzela being thrown on the soccer pitch or used in any kind of way to harass players or the crowd.

Meanwhile vuvuzelas are selling in England — and probably in other places, I just haven’t seen the reports — at a fast clip, and I would like one, too. I’m not going to make noise on it for 90 minutes or annoy anyone on purpose, but I just figure something called a vuvuzela would be a fun thing to have.

This World Cup business will be going on for a month so I’ll keep an eye on this critical issue. You’ve got your #vuvuzelawatch right here.

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DC United vs Kansas City Wizards vs Random Guy Cursing

Our  family watched the soccer match between DC United and the Kansas City Wizards on ESPN 2.

The conversation in our living room went like this:

Husband: Did someone just say “What the fuck?”

Me: I didn’t.

9 Year Old Son: Dad just did.