For 21 years I have sat on the couch next to the best sports announcer in the business. My husband would weave backstories for me about which player just battled cancer or was adopted from another country as a child. He would tell me who overcame abject poverty to rise to the top of his sport and who was suspected of doping. He could tell me any stat I wanted to know or explain any obscure sports rule that even the refs were missing. These are the storylines that Michael would tell me in between layups, at bats and goooooals. He knows that I don’t really care much about which team wins but I love a good story of triumph and an underdog.
Now that his real job is being the Associated Press’s global sports editor, I am sitting on the couch alone wondering who in the heck is Ruud Van Nistelrooy and why do I care what he’s telling me about the World Cup? Why wasn’t Bob Ley in the anchor chair on the first day of play? (Mike Tirico is fine but I expected Bob Ley.) Did Croatia really have a chance against Brazil or were they hand-chosen like UGA’s homecoming opponent each year? (Can they even do that?)
When we first started dating in 1992, I had NEVER seen ESPN Sports Center. I had no idea who Chris Berman and Dan Patrick were but I quickly learned. In our first year of dating he invited me to a Final Four party. I showed up with my school books so I could study during the game. I didn’t understand what a Final Four meant.
Now he’s got me taping World Cup matches and watching them late at night or the next morning even though I know the score because I have the FIFA app on my phone. (I also watch Dan Patrick’s radio show on TV each morning with my coffee.)
When he was home over Memorial Day weekend, we sat down for the Indy 500. How can going around in a circle 200 times be riveting? He says I should just watch the start and then the last 20 laps. He explained all the strategies and who the drivers were. The TV kept showing the girlfriend of one driver and the wife and baby of another, and by the end I swear I was in tears.
He’s still trying to help my sports viewing all the way from Brazil. He posted this on Facebook today.
“My wife suggested that we give people (particularly fans who only tune in every four years) a guide to “what to watch” each day of the World Cup. So now it’s the last thing I edit every night. Today’s version: http://ow.ly/xYI3Q. Things I didn’t include, but I know Theresa Walsh Giarrusso will need to know: Holland has that bald guy who looks a little like Grygiel (Robben). Spain has a lot of good-looking guys, Ramos, Cassilas. Vidal has a mohawk for Chile. Dos Santos of Mexico has the curly hair and is half-Brazilian. — at Riocentro.”
Apparently Spain versus Netherlands is a rematch. See I didn’t know that.
He is not staying for the entire World Cup and I am so glad because that means I get some matches with my own personal commentator sitting next to me on the couch.