One emailer wrote:
I’m actually having a little bit of an existential crisis with this US-Ghana match—I really appreciate the Ghana team and two of my most fantastic colleagues are Ghanaian. I’ll have to muster every little ounce of fleeting nationalistic sentiment I posses to cheer for team USA.
I suggested he watch the game on ESPN. That experience will drive even the most die-hard American fans into Ghana’s camp.
That’s really funny. At one point, perhaps when Ian Darke, the British half (!) of the broadcast team, said late in the game that he and his wife would celebrate with champagne if the U.S. managed to eke out a win, I found myself wondering if that idiot from Gawker had put up a post complaining about the ridiculously pro-U.S. cheerleading from the commentary booth. If I had a million dollars to bet, I’d put it all on “No”.
It honestly doesn’t bother me too much, because most of the commentary is just inane chatter anyway, from the useless trivia and statistic-mongering that passes for analysis in the studio, to the actual patter during the game. I usually just tune it out for the most part. But really, listening to Darke and John Harkes ceaselessly attempt over 120 minutes to give themselves pep talks after the U.S. fell behind early yet again was a bit tiring. It didn’t help that most of the game, especially the first half, was some of the most sleep-inducing shit imaginable. I’ve taken antihistamines that didn’t make me feel that drowsy. I agree with what Silverstein said before — I don’t view sports as just another excuse to have the same old political arguments, so I don’t root for or against teams based on those issues. The U.S., though, is just frequently excruciating to watch. I don’t hate watching them because of George Bush or our foreign wars or anything like that, I hate watching them because they simply reek. I can’t count how many times I saw four or five players just standing around like spectators when a teammate had the ball in the midfield. No runs off the ball, no sharp passing, just terrible stuff.
Anyway, as far as the chatter goes, Harkes’s Joisy accent is the hardest thing for me to tolerate. He was one of many kids from New Jersey who formed the core of the U.Va. teams when Bruce Arena was the coach there during the eighties and early nineties (with Bob Bradley as his assistant). Another one of them became my high school coach several years after his college career was over, so listening to Harkes reminds me all too much of the angry tirades we had to hear then.
Hopefully, now that the U.S. is done, the worst of it is over.
Update: Hahahaha. To answer my own question, no, of course not, the idiot from Gawker was not at all bothered by hearing a steady stream of rah-rah biased pom-pom waving from supposedly neutral announcers, but he was terribly vexed by a blatant example of malingering from a Ghana player late in extra time, even though the referee adds additional time to account for such things, and despite the fact that it didn’t affect the outcome anyway. Given that such displays of bad sportsmanship are indeed worth getting angry over, however, I assume my good friend is also boiling hot over other examples, such as Landon Donovan’s periodic playacting (I seem to recall one particularly impressive corkscrew dive in the first half after a routine knock on his ankle) and his frequent attempts (not just in this game) to urge the referee to issue yellow or red cards to opposing players — the equivalent of being a whiny snitch or a tattletale in regular life — or seeing Jozy Altidore, built like a tank, going down faster than a slut’s knickers, as the Brits like to say, at the slightest contact.
What’s that, you say? He couldn’t care less? It’s only a problem when other teams do it? All that matters is that he was deprived of a chance to bellow AMERICA FUCK YEAH WOOOHOOO BABY SUCK IT FOREIGNERS!!!!
What a shock. Well, at least he managed to refrain from calling for cruise missiles to be launched at Ghana. Baby steps, baby steps.