Monday, June 29, 2009

USA v Brazil, the media, and ESPN v Univision

I write about soccer in another blog, but I don't do it much here. You can see my thoughts on the on field happenings of the FIFA Confederations Cup final there. I'm extremely proud of our players, but puzzled by our manager's tactics. It was a heartbreaking loss.

Being in a final, even a Confederations Cup final, is a big deal, and as such it has brought a lot of attention to the national team both positive and negative. International sports outside of the Olympics are often met with derision by the American mainstream media for some reason (though the general American populace seems to enjoy them greatly), I don't know why. One writer once said he thought that the US should pull out of the Olympics and just have an American Olympics (sidenote: We already have something similar, that took 30 seconds of research) because "we always win anyway", apparently China didn't get the memo. That struck me as xenophobic. He's a rather well known writer, he's even featured on television for some reason. I guess because controversy creates cash and if you yell out the most outrageous things someone will argue with you. By now I've learned to ignore the detractors.

There has been positive attention as well, and that's been very nice. If that was your first non-World Cup soccer experience, the national team plays several matches every year, often all through out the country, if you're interested you'd be more than welcome at any of them. The Gold Cup starts on July 3rd, click the link and you can see if any matches are near you. The Gold Cup is our regional championship, think of it as a World Cup with only North American teams (CONCACAF is North America, Central America and the Caribbean including Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana). It's fun and you may meet some good people at the same time.

I have to say though, ESPN has disappointed me again. I speak very little Spanish but I often find myself watching the Univision feed for matches. ESPN's feed often seems to lack the passion associated with the sport and I guess that rubs me the wrong way. Yes, the GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL can be over-the-top at times but if you watch the entire feed you can honestly see how passionate the commentary team on Univision is. I know there's a massive controversy over English and Spanish in the United States but Univision (Miami, FL-based) is as American as ESPN (Bristol, CT-based) and seemed more proud of that fact during the Confederations Cup. I'm thankful ESPN showed the competition (but if they hadn't, FSC would've and Max Bretos is very passionate about the game and the US team) but I wish they'd try a little harder, it'd be nice.

Now my stomach hurts, I shouldn't eat red meat. I must turn in, again.

No comments: