You don’t need to appreciate the sport to appreciate the sport’s commentator.
Bold statement, I know – and not all sportscasters can make the leap from being a beloved accessory of the sport, to being a beloved commentator.
Before I introduce a British example of this phenomenon, let’s review the American announcers that proved it’s possible:
Harry Carey, arguably the most famous Baseball commentator of all time, is well-known for the endless, childlike enthusiasm he brings to a game where playing a ‘perfect game’, essentially means absolutely nothing happens.
One might argue that Harry Carey takes a backseat to an earlier baseball commentator – Yogi Berra. Berra is still known for his famous mis-appropriations of similes and metaphors. Turn off your nonsense filter before you start reading, or the rage will strike with a fierceness.
Then there’s John Madden, American Football commentator with a talent for stating the obvious. Here’s one clip of his random ramblings. He goes from a rant about “load the load a load” to imagining what the Fridge is talking about on the phone. In a way, his drivel-filled comments add some entertainment to the long timeout pauses in the game, while also drawing more attention to how many pauses in the the game there are.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a clip of his more well-known pointless statements, but here’s a short list.
If you’re with me so far, then you’ll have to agree that Sid Waddell masterfully combines nonsensical statements, misplaced analogies and enthusiastic delivery. He injects epic drama into a sport that is basically throwing needles at a trivet – that’s right – the heart-pumping world of professional Darts.
Take a moment to listen to this compilation of commentary highlights, and you’ll understand why Sid Waddell is an icon in British sports announcing.