[This was my Saturday column for The Age on the date given above. It didn’t make the interweb version of the paper, as near as I can work out, so I’m posting it here, in case any of this site’s users missed the paper that day.
Some might be wondering why some columns turn up on the website and others don’t. Happily I’m able to inform you with complete confidence that I have no idea whatsoever.]
EXPERTISE WE COULD LIVE WITHOUT
While we sport viewers may have our own opinions, it is invaluable, at times, to have an expert voice in commentary to explicate the finer points of detail.
For example, during football matches and panels, it is nothing short of a boon to be informed that a given player is “a great story”. That way, we already know it’s a great story before we hear the story, and are thus saved the hard bull-work of determining whether it was a great story.
(Presumably, a similar generosity of spirit marks those who, preparatory to telling a joke, habitually let those assembled know in advance that it is a particularly hilarious one, if not “the funniest ever”.)
One feels a similar glow of gratitude when callers take time out during match description to inform us of the excellence of the broadcast images; and/or that these are being provided via a “reverse angle”.
In the first case, clearly, viewers are relieved from the onerous responsibility, as industry non-professionals, of having to assess the quality of the camerawork and direction.
Similarly, regarding the reverse angle, its announcement no doubt comes as considerable aid to all those struck blind at that precise point in the telecast.
Another verbal helping hand the punditry is generously inclined to proffer from time to time, is the bombshell that sport is not the most important thing in life.
Yes, indeed. Imagine how many children might be left uncollected and crying in playgrounds, or the plight of our vague and elderly laying forgotten and puzzled on lawn furniture, if we, the perennially confused sporting public, weren’t occasionally reminded that more important things obtain in life than sport.
It’s almost an embarrassment of riches to be so well informed.