Sports Announcers = Arnold Schwarzenegger

If you follow the link above, you will see that the title “Best DVD Commentary Ever” is ironic, because Arnold Schwarzenegger does nothing but describe exactly what the viewer can already see or infer from the film itself.  “In this scene he uses the bodies as a human shield” or “”This is a great scene because she’s trying to keep him from seeing the news but he can see it anyway and isn’t paying attention to her…”

The connection I’m trying to make here as I clumsily integrate some visual media into the blog, is that sports announcers and soccer announcers in particular do far too much of this kind of thing, where they tell a story of the game that the viewer already understands from watching at home.  This is more to be expected from the play-by-play guy, but the color commentator, usually an ex-player,  is very lackluster at illuminating something that we at home are not aware of.

I think one of the main reasons for this is because ex-players are hired for this job.  Athletes spend their entire careers looking for cliched, non-controversial ways to interact with the press, and perhaps this bleeds into their broadcast careers.

More than that, however, I don’t think a career in soccer, whether as a player or a coach, necessarily prepares you to talk insightfully about the sport.  I would much rather hear from someone like Michael Cox at Zonal Marking, discuss the game and the tactical narrative that takes place over of an ex-player. Look at his diagnosis of the most recent England match and how it clearly explains the drama inherent in choice of players.  It’s hard to say whether Cox or other tactically-informed writers on the internet could produce this analysis live, but I’d certainly be willing give them a try.  I think the more fans understand the interesting elements of soccer tactics, the more compelling soccer becomes. (And this tactical dimension is especially important to sustain a viewer’s attention in a sport with so little actual scoring compared to others sports.)


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