Friday, June 11, 2010

Mexico 1, South Africa 1: And so it begins. The Bafana Bafana narrowly avoid being the first host country to lose its World Cup opener, holding Our Neighbors to the South to a draw, causing great joy in South Africa and great consternation among teabaggers in Arizona. In fact, it was the Tricolores who needed to rally late, tying the game on a goal by Rafael Marquez in the final twelve minutes to earn the point.

Even more annoying than the non-stop blare of the air horns, which threaten to drive down interest in the sport to near-American levels in the rest of the world, is this year's set of announcers on ESPN. It has become a tradition among soccer snobs on the East Coast to make sport of whichever converted baseball announcer is doing the games for that network, that it became easy to forget that England is not just the birthplace of soccer, but also crappy sports announcing as well.

This year, Americans are treated to someone named Martin Tyler, a Chris Schenkel-esque bore who may have done more to reinforce the stereotype for Americans of soccer being a deadly-dull sport than anyone this side of Juventus. It took only forty minutes of listening to this clown and his announcing partner for me to switch over to Univision, where I can at least have the pleasure of listening to people who act like they enjoy what they're doing, even if I can't understand a word of Spanish. The low point for ESPN occurred when Mr. Tyler and his sidekick attacked a linesman for disallowing a goal, apparently not realizing that the rule in the sport requires that there be two defenders (one of whom may be the goalie) between the recipient of the ball and the goal line.

It should be a fun four weeks....


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