I’m going to take a moment away from Fulham to write something I think all fans of this sport can appreciate.
In England, you have your iconic commentators/broadcasters for most sports, but especially soccer. I’m not going to pretend I know who’s the most famous or well-liked, but I’ll throw out a few names I do know: Martin Tyler. Ian Darke. Jonathan Pearce. Barry Davies.
While you may not personally like a lot of the bigger name commentators, they all have some meaning to the sport, and they had some influence on how you perceived the sport growing up.
It’s the same here in the States. Certain baseball, football (American), basketball, hockey, etc announcers shape the way we see the sport. For example, as a Yankees and Giants fan growing up, I have heard the same voices (John Sterling for the Yankees and Bob Papa for the Giants) for years, and when they go eventually, listening to the sport won’t be the same.
Ok, to my point. There’s one broadcaster here who’s shaped the way Americans view March Madness. Gus Johnson is a new-age broadcaster who’s unique way of identifying with the viewer’s tension is unparalleled. If you don’t know him, his most well-known quality is his incredible excitability. Because of it, he’s somewhat shunned by the older generations, and he’s become a bit of a cult hero for the younger kids like myself. He doesn’t go crazy all the time, just when it’s warranted. Here’s some of his gems:
Thanks to Gus, phrases such as “The slipper still fits!!” “Morrisooooooooon!!!” and his signature “HA HA!” have become regular lexicon when discussing college basketball.
Well now, good ol’ Gus, who no longer calls March Madness (at the moment) because CBS Sports are idiots and didn’t renew his contract, has found himself some spare time, and chose to use it wisely, calling soccer for the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS. While this may not seem important, it’s another small sign that soccer in America is slowly garnering the attention of top broadcasters, and we all know how much the media giant in America decides what’s important for all of us who can’t think for ourselves. Here’s his call of their most recent last-minute win (I tried to embed it but the video is with DailyMotion and it won’t go on WordPress).
It’s kinda clunky, and obvious he’s still getting used to the flow of the game, but he has the terminology down, and what better sport to make use of his sudden excitability than this one? It makes sports broadcasting junkies like me giddy, and like Gus Johnson or not, it’s a step in the right direction. It tells us that this sport is slowly but surely gaining some steam in the United States. And that can only mean good things for the rest of the community.