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marv albert mugshotI can’t go back to Marv Albert, I really can’t. Al Michaels? A mere pretender. Looks up words in the dictionary for bed time reading. Kevin Harlan? Thinks he’s Marv Albert. Mike Breen? Every time I hear his voice, I feel a pang of discomfort. Chuck Swirsky? Stick to commercials.

Dick Stockton’s the only guy I could listen to about third quarter statistics.

But none of the guys mentioned above come close to the folks I’ve been listening to for the past month in the World Cup. Maybe it’s the command of the English language, maybe it’s the ability to just shut up and refrain from hyperbole. Maybe it’s just the eloquence.

Sport is meant to be called from a distant view, from an intelligent mans perspective, from an eye that sees beyond the mere back pass and has the ability to translate this harmless event on the football pitch as, “a retreat to safer waters”. When artistry is displayed, no man should be yelling about what just happened but it should be admired and the viewer should be let known that what they just saw something that will be “edged into football manuals for millenniums to come”.

A strong defensive play is not just a strong defensive play. Oh, how naive I was to see it that way for all these years! A team defensive play is nothing but the act of “guarding one’s citadel through trying times”. Yes you, you fan who seems to be holding his hands in a form of prayer, it is through you that “divine intervention is being sought” at this “late hour in Kaiserslautern”. Right before my eyes did I see the “Germans march across Polish territory seeking desired targets” bringing back to memory events of decades past.

But enough! Enough about the eloquence. Perhaps that just suits our cultured European friends and since Al Michaels and Dan Dierdorf wouldn’t know culture if they were married to it, it is best to not hold it against them. It is a lost art, it really is, you know, the art of just shutting up and letting the viewer use his own mental ability to interpret events happening before his eyes. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the viewer is just soothed by the green, clean cut grass and at times doesn’t care to hear a sinful human’s voice spoiling this serene moment. It’s a lot nicer to have green grass as a background than hardwood, even the most ardent basketball fan will agree. Am I rambling? Maybe, but let me ramble while I wonder how they manage to cut that grass in two different shades without even the slightest seam.

Maybe it’s my ageing mind and withering body but I’ve begun to appreciate Thierry Henry more than Lebron James. I like Andrei Pirlo’s free kicks more than Morris Peterson’s threes. I like Zidane’s header (ball and chest ones), better than Shaq’s dunks. I like to see Christiano Ronaldo cry when he loses – I much prefer it to the non chalant look of our NBA stars that so often dawns on them at the hour of defeat.

I dig FIFA over the NBA.




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