I like to watch sport on television.
I’d prefer it live. But even before Covid, my days of going to see Ireland in Lansdowne Road or Leinster in the RDS were coming to an end because of my own health difficulties.
So it’s the telly for me.
I love rugby. I like soccer. But both have disimproved over the years.
Bulk seems to dominate rugby. Bulk and very loud shouty referees, invariably in tight shorts for some reason, who think we’ve tuned in to watch them.
And soccer, well, the diving and faking injury and cheating if off the scale these days.
VAR in soccer and rugby’s TMO haven’t helped the games.
But there’s something even more annoying than all of that.
Why in God’s name do we need two commentators when, these days, there are dozens of cameras showing us games from every conceivable angle?
Why do we need one commentator to tell us that the ball hit the bar and another – a so called expert – to tell us that if it hadn’t it the bar it might have been a goal?
Why do we need one commentator to tell us that a team is five metres from the try line and another to tell us that if they have to try and get over the line to score?
(The golden rule in soccer, by the way, seems to be that Commentor 1 is kind of posh and describes the action while Commentator 2 has a North of England or Cockney accent and tells us what could have or should have happened.)
Watching sport on television is like being at a game and sitting behind two loud mouths in the stand.
And it gets worse at half time and when the game is over.
Analysis. God Almighty the games are analysed to death. Diagrams. Computer graphics, charts, animation.
It was grand when a few lads had a chat after the game and maybe some of them (you know who I’m talking about) talked a lot of shite. But it was fun.
Nowadays, it seems to go on forever and ever.
It is exactly like standing in the pub after a game beside the resident feckin’ expert on everything.
I have taken to turning the sound down when matches are on now. And that’s particularly awkward when it’s only on the radio.
It was fine when it was just George Hamilton or Michael Corcoran or one of their colleagues doing the soccer and rugby. But there are more people off the feckin’ pitch telling what we just saw than there are on the pitch playing.
I long for the day when the proper commentator, the George or the Michael suddenly says: “Can I ask the listeners to excuse me for one second,” and then, obviously turning to the co-commentator and saying: “WOULD YOU EVER SHUT THE F*** UP?”
If one of the proper lads does that, I’ll be a fan for life.