When I watch sports on television, why must the announcers spent countless moments discussing minutiae absolutely irreverent to the game? What function do sideline reports serve? Why do commentators feel the need to speak as if the viewers are a gang of mush-heads?
For example, why was Matt Leinart’s dad shown repeatedly during the 2006 Rose Bowl? It seemed as if he was on the screen more often than his son, who was quarterbacking the Trojans. Since Mr. Leinart wasn’t the player who came up inches short on fourth down nor did he score the winning touchdown with nineteen seconds to go, why was this visual noise clouding my screen so often?
Players make plays (Critical, often over-looked note: not all athletes who participate in sports are players). LenDale White scored three touchdowns, Reggie Bush vaulted over twelve defenders to score, and Vince Young largely won the game single-handedly. The Elias Sports Bureau possesses many interesting facts about these players that I would have enjoyed hearing about. Why dilute the intensity of sports with sappy melodramatic storylines? To me, sports are appealing because every game is different. These quasi-theatrical sidebars are merely rehashed versions of the same tired themes (overcoming adversity, redemption, family).
On the subject of U.S.C.’s decision to go for it on fourth down, I don’t necessarily loathe the call. A punt probably seals the victory, but Vince Young is Superman so it’s hard to say. However, why leave Reggie Bush on the sideline? At worse, he’s a decoy to the ball carrier; in the best case scenario, he gains thirty yards on a pitch-out. Perhaps he could have pushed the pile and given U.S.C. the yards they needed (again).
Homer Simpson said it best when he decreed that “you don’t make friends with salad.” To paraphrase: “you don’t leave the Heisman trophy winner on the sideline on the play that will determine the National Championship.”