"Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am vast. I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman

:malicious user:

Friday, February 20, 2004

in the company of men, part 1

i am not a sports guy. i have little interest in spectator sports. i am vaguely aware of my local teams' standings in their respective leagues/divisions, and only because it is part and parcel of the local news. i do not actively dislike sports, but, as a crappy athelete, sports have never been something i associate with a lot of pleasure.

you get the point.

i am also not a huge megamedia fan. beyonce or justin could walk into my house and i'd probably attack either one as a burgler before knowing or caring about their celebrity.

these two attitudes connect every morning during the newscast's sports segment. inevitably there are soundbites from the coach/manager/captain of the local team about the previous days' performance, and the soundbite is always a variation on one of two themes: "we did the best we could and we won," or "we did the best we could and the other guys won." (note that the speaker's team never loses - it's just that the other team wins.) it is the unrepenting sameness of these soundbites that draws my contempt for interviewing atheletes. were i the news director, i'd excise these segments and make room for 8 more seconds of daniel schorr. unless someone opened up with an ak-47 on the playing field, just tell me who won, tell me who lost, and shut the hell up.

today was no exception. the morning news blippit mentioned that the two local hockey teams had played the previous evening, that there had been 'some fighting,' and then the requisite soundbite from the losing team's captain. this is not exhilarating broadcasting.

late this afternoon, i received an email from my priceless friend drew. drew and i have much in common, but he is my polar opposite regarding sports. he will watch anything involving a score except opera. his email, with a subject line of "You Probably Don't Care About This," dove to the true heart of the previous evening's competition. it took me about the same amount of time to read as two or three soundbites. drew was typically gracious, and granted me permission to reprint it here:

Last night I watched the hockey game. It was the NY Islanders vs. the NY Rangers. Those of us who follow hockey on a regular basis know that even though these are two NY teams, they do not like each other. In fact, they have a deep hatred for each other. The Islanders will probably make the playoffs this year. The Rangers will not. Again. This does not sit well with them. With that said, last night's game started off rather uneventful. Then towards the end of the 1st period there was a little pushing and shoving and exchanges of pleasantries. The second period there was more of the same, including a couple of fights. Then came the last period. It was 5-2 in favor of the Rangers with less than 10 minutes left. Then, the Rangers scored again. One of them decided to celebrate a little too much and rub the impending victory into the Islanders' faces. This did not sit well.

Players started pairing off with players from the other team and fights started breaking out. Even the goalies got into it. Players were ejected.

There will proabably be suspensions handed out to a handful. Usually the way penalties are handed out are 2 minutes for a minor penalty, 5 minutes for fighting, game misconducts (in which the player is ejected) along with 10 minute game misconduct penalties. Last night there were a total of 118 penalty minutes handed out between the two teams. And most of this occurred in the last ten minutes. Very ugly. And to top it off, the two teams get to play each other one more time this year. Should be VERY interesting.

Sportscasters, take heed. There is a story behind the game. Don't interview people whose job is to compete, not communicate. Don't tell us the points, tell us the score. That's your real job.
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i used to be disgusted. now i try to be amused.
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