Our Wider World Of Sports

All Blacks Haka Richie McCaw 2011 - Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
In the US, we are pretty narrow in terms of the sports that are “mainstream”.  ESPN only covers football (American Football), baseball and basketball in any real depth on a regular basis.  Okay, I guess you can add hockey, golf, maybe tennis and soccer too.  If you are older and remember life pre-cable, you may remember ABC’s Wide World of Sports, the one with the ski-jumper who crashed in the opening credits.  They went around the world, found interesting sporting events and made fantastic programs about them.  
 
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Image courtesy of ABC
In the US, I complain about the narrow range of sports covered by ESPN.*  He always reminds me “supply and demand”.  It has been a pleasant surprise here to see the large variety of sports covered well on TV.  This, ironically, does not include TV France’s coverage of cycling.  It’s horrible, very disappointing and perplexing.  How can the French be such fans of cycling when they have the worst announcers known to mankind.  Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme.  How can the French be such fans of cycling when they hear someone announce it in monotone, in the decibel level of a golf announcer at the green with NO interesting anecdotes?
 
The awesome Versus cycling announcers…worth emulating.
We’ve been watching a the Rugby World Cup.  The both the games and the coverage have been outstanding.  New Zealand’s All Blacks got past Australia in a fast and spirited game yesterday.  Next weekend, they will face France in the final.  

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Scrolling through our TV, here are some of the sporting events we will be able to see in the next week (coverage is somewhat limited this week due to the large coverage of the Rugby World Cup):

  • Pro surfing from Portugal
  • Ten million different soccer leagues and games, seriously, there are too many to list
  • Boxing (not pay per view)
  • ATP tennis from Russia (played indoors)
  • Vintage WWE?!?
  • Pro wrestling (hilarious when dubbed in French)
  • A marathon from Poland (Poznan Marathon?)
  • Motorcycle racing
  • Formula One
  • Polo from Spain
  • Equestrian competition from Norway
  • Several different golf events
  • A martial arts competition from Romania
  • Horse racing
  • Ski competition from Austria
  • Figure skating from the US
  • British Touring Car Championships
  • One football game (the American kind)
Even with all this, American football is still his favorite.
*Other family members complain about ESPN’s apparent pro-U of M bias.

 

 

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The Hard Knock Life Of An Expat Football Fan

If he followed soccer, or even rugby, it would be a lot easier than it is  keeping up with American football here.  Even if he could watch the local news (in French or German or Italian…heck we even get Al Arabiya with our cable package) to catch the scores, they don’t really cover it.  As a result, it is hard to remember when to update your team,* let alone who to pick up this week because your QB is on a bye and your backup is injured.

He has been reduced to frantically checking ESPN for scores over breakfast.  I am reminding him to update his team.  Me?  Yes, me.  If I am reminding you to update your team, you really are screwed.  Ladies, you know who you are, you really benefitted from my forgetfulness last year.  You are welcome.  Gentleman, if you want him to miss a reminder, please write a request on a 100 CHF note for me.

To top it all off, his team, the long-suffering Detroit Lions**, are actually doing well.***  So are the Detroit Tigers!  We leave and everything gets better.  Maybe it will work for Detroit’s economy too.

*There is no way that you are going to be around to do this at the last minute.  If someone is questionable and it is going to be a last minute decision, they are sitting on the bench.  Period.

**He would like me to note  that Jeff Backus (we won’t mention his nickname for Mr. Backus) is terrible, the bane of his existence.  When Mr. Backus is no longer with the Lions, he will be much happier.  He has felt this way since he Mr. Backus was drafted.  Trust me on this.

** *He did not mind missing Michigan State’s loss to ND.  For that matter, neither did I.