REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL
AIRS TONIGHT (6/22) @ 10:00 PM ET/PT, 9:00 PM CT
“Finally tonight, a few words about this year’s World Cup. I confess that I love everything about it, particularly, those aspects that many Americans are whining about.
Where the game is concerned, I love that they have running time and don’t compromise the flow for the sake of TV commercials. I love that the referees don’t stop the action to let replays warp their beautiful game and I love that their announcers, unlike Americans, don’t feel the need to characterize everything that’s surprising as also unbelievable.
As for the players, I love how they mimic NBA stars and go down dramatically, as if they have been shot whenever they are fouled. I love the single names: Ronaldo, Kaka, Drogba — all of which sound a lot more elegant than Manny, Pudge and Big Baby. And, I love the national pride that is shown each game. It’s real and it’s genuine, the kind the Olympics tries to force on us every four years.
Off the field, I love how the crowds never stoop to something as silly as ‘the wave.’ I love the purity of their sidelines — no hangers on, no mascots and best of all, no cheerleaders. I even love the vuvuzelas. Yes, they are noisy, but they are preferable to the deafening din of the weekly Billy Bob 500, or the phony piped in efforts at U.S. arenas, where choreographed chants of ‘dee-fense’ pass for originality.
Lastly, I love that at the World Cup, there are sporting people representing cultures from all over the world and befitting grownups, not a one of them seems obsessed with what conference Texas plays in, whether Brett Favre ever comes back, or where LeBron James ultimately goes. At least we’ve one pocket of sanity, if only for two more weeks.”