Sunday, August 24, 2008

Things I miss about England #38: Match of the Day. So, the English Premier league has started again. Another season and another chance for me to miss all the goals. "If only I had Match of the Day!", I've frequently cried. Hansen, Lawro et al. may not be your cup of tea and you may think their razor-sharp analysis is as sharp as a toothbrush but they're a fair bit better than coverage here in Brazil. There are programmes which show the British goals. Only problem is you have to watch 2 hours of talking for 10 seconds of clips. And there's no consistency about when the programmes will even be on (TV guides may have been invented but it doesn't mean anyone has to stick to them!) or when in the programmes the goals will come. Even when they do show goals from the Premiership the editing is pretty shocking resulting in a speeded up 2 second-clip of a wonder goal followed by a 30 second repeated slow-motion clip of the referee falling over.

The absolute best (or worst) example of this dodgy editing came this very evening when my father-in-law was listening to an online radio commentary of a game involving his team Nautico (think Reading) playing at home ot the league leaders Gremio (think Chelsea). With 2 minutes left of the game and with Nautico winning 1-0 the commentator had to cut to a party political election broadcast. Left high and dry without commentary, Steve managed to get text commentary from a website only to find his beloved Nautico had let in an equaliser in the 90th minute. It was a double sucker punch (or should that be "soccer punch") for my already frustrated father-in-law.

Thank goodness for the internet which allows me to at least see the Arsenal goals (that's if they're ever going to score any!) from a dodgy, grainy Arabic website.

Things I love about Brazil #68: Football commentators. It's not that Brazilian footy commentators are good. It's more that they're just funny. They don't seem to take themselves or their jobs as seriously as Messrs Motson and Tyler. There's much more banter, much more speculating about what's actually happening, much less clarity about who is who... my top 5 Brazilian commentator moments so far:

1. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL. I have to admit, the way commentators announce a goal being scored is very handy. You can be anywhere in the house and know somebody has scored. It's a great way to make sure you don't miss the replay. If you're watching a game involving Brazil (in any sport), a goal for the mother country is not only announced with the customary drawn out shouting of "GOL" but a techie in the sound-box will put on a cheesy sound-clip of somebody (Rachel informs me it's Galvão Bueno) saying "Brazil-zil-zil-zil-zil!" occasionally followed by a 10 second clip of Brazilian samba music. It's truly extraordinary and one of those things that can only be fully appreciated if you're there at the time. But, thanks to the miracle of YouTube you can be. Click here to see what I'm on about.
2. The commentators of a Carling Cup match didn't know that the game would go to extra time. On seeing two teams who had just finished a match line up against each other for more, they were incredulous: "This didn't happen last year! What's going on?"
3. For half an Arsenal match, the commentators confused Eboue with Adebayor and vice versa.
4. The commentators pronounced the Birmingham player "Jerome" as Jeremy. For a short while, I though the former Chelsea player "Geremi" had moved to Birmingham. I was very confused. The pronunciation and intonation of some football teams is also a highlight: "PortsMOUTH versus FulHAM".
5. Commentating on the women's football in the Olympics, the two commentators on duty couldn't help but push their commentary to the edge of political correctness. Their commentary deviated from, well, commentating to the occasional piece of advice giving or melodrama. "Calm down! Calm down! Take your time. You didn't need to boot it out of defence!". And when Brazil conceded a penalty: "My goodness, that was a clear penalty! I have never seen such an obvious penalty in all my life! That was bad!".

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