Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's Michael Spice on the PK into the Onion Bag!

I watch Manchester United because I love the team and the club. I watch the World Cup because I enjoy watching good football. The problem I'm really having this year is that I'm struggling to cope with listening to the World Cup on ESPN and ABC.

This doesn't surprise me, of course, but the fact that it was expected does not make it any better. How hard would it be, do you think, for Disney to go out and hire a couple of pundits who actually understand the sport, and speak the lingo. If nothing else, they could simply purchase foreign feeds with quality commentators describing the action.

But no. Instead, we have to settle for Marcela Balboa, Dave O'Brien, Tommy Smyth, Shep Messing, JP Dellacamera and co. When Tommy Smyth is the best of the bunch, you know you're stuck in the ninth circle of hell. Amusingly enough, the only person on the team who seems to have a grasp of the game, the players, and what the World Cup even is, is Julie Foudy in the studios. Unfortunately, the half-time analysis during each match is usually limited to a summary of the day's basketball scores, and a deep throught from each analyst on the state of the US team.

Oh, for some insight, dry English wit, and a commentator who is actually familiar with the players. I've had enough of:

  • ".. and he puts a bulge in the old onion bag" - a Tommy Smyth special
  • ".. oh that's gotta be a PK! Sure PK!"
  • ".. Michael [sic] Beckham gets the score on the head ball!" - yes, one of them called him Michael Beckham
  • ".. and the coach must be thinking about taking out Crouch and bringing in a Rooney or a Wilcox [sic]" - this morning's buffoon speculates on Sven-Goran Eriksson's plans to assassinate his only fit striker
  • ".. and they win it one to nothing on the score from Neuville"
  • ... ad infinitum
The BBC may have gone over the top a bit, but their tongue-in-cheek article on how an American sportswriter would report on the World Cup back in 2002 hammered home the point in a decidedly unsubtle and un-British manner.

As far as I can tell, Disney prepared their team by having them watch Bend it Like Beckham half a dozen times, follwed by a quick viewing of the Spice Girls movie. It's no wonder the sport is struggling to take root in this country.


Ingar said...

Haha! Well, if it's any consolation the Norwegian commentators are just slightly better (except Svein Mathisen - local hero and football expert).

Check out my United-blog if you like (it's in English of course).

Keep the red flag flying!

GaryE said...

Well I do understand your point. And I know this article is several years old . . . but I love Tommy Smyth. I am totally missing him in this world cup.

I just love hearing him say "he puts a bulge in the old onion bag".

I would be interested to hear if a seasoned watcher like you are more satisfied with the coverage of the 2014 world cup on ESPN/ABC