I have been convinced for quite a while, that technology can sense a non-convert. It seems to know that I am capable of emailing, flicking through news websites and Google mapping, but aside from that, I’m neither too competent, nor too bothered. Recently, for reasons still unknown to myself I enrolled in a computer course to extend my (perfectly adequate if Neolithic knowledge) of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. As a result, (I’m still waiting for official conformation) I do believe my name will appear in the next publication of the Guinness Book of World Records under the depressingly accurate accolade of having been entrapped in a public library where all previous levels of boredom known to man were annihilated through the medium of databases. Minutes turned to hours as I began to recognise the early onset of Stockholm syndrome as I persuaded myself I was there for my own good.
I’m diverting off on a tangent of doom. What I wanted to point out is that I listen to a lot of sport on the radio because I don’t have Sky TV.
Most of the time, (depending on the commentator) I don’t feel like I miss out by not having pictures. When watching sport, there are often distractions which catch the eye, particularly when crowds of people come together – pesky homemade banners at Stamford Bridge, scores of afro-wigged revellers at the Ryder Cup, middle aged men with coqs on their heads at the 6 Nations, Eddie Jordan’s shirts, David Coulthard’s chin….
The Test Match Special (TMS) team have an excellent reputation for being able to strike a popular balance between describing the on-field Cricket action amongst the bigger landscape of weather, spectators, coaches, and unexpected diversions. That is, between the infectious fits of giggles and eating cake! Jonanthan Agnew, Aggers, is one stalwart of the team who has sense. Earlier this week he transferred me to the sun-drenched banks of the University Oval in Dunedin for the first Test between New Zealand and England, but it was a newspaper article he wrote about sport ‘personalities’ last week that made me want to applaud. Thank-you very much Aggers, your talents know no boundaries; you took the words right out of my mouth. Let me quote the great man commenting on the inflated media reaction of the response by Rafa Benitez in an interview after Chelsea fans gave him some grief from the stands,
“Part of the problem is that the public pronouncements made by many in the sporting world these days are mind-numbingly dull. There are expectations of course, but in the main, press conferences and television interviews are sanitised almost to the point of being worthless…..But it is the media’s fault. In the rush for quotes, and the absurd over-emphasis placed on the importance of what a sportsman or sportswoman has to say, we have created Mr and Mrs Bland.”
As someone who reads the paper from the back pages to the front, I am interested in the opinions of players, previews and reviews from commentators and insider knowledge. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, I feel like I could easily give a bog standard press conference for most of Britain’s major sporting events and fixtures in the calendar. Aside from injury updates, which aren’t always accurate or truthful, there isn’t much more to be gained from a scheduled presentation to the media. As a much more experienced, well-informed, connected and knowledgeable sports fan than me, Aggers is honest enough to voice an opinion that hasn’t come directly off the conveyor belt of stale, benign, exhausted, responses to questions on sport. Now that’s worth listening to.