Maybe we weren't meant to think so deeply about sports

I wanna take a step back for a minute, and discuss something important.

There’s an ESPN Radio station down here in Austin, AM 1530, that plays the Mothership’s full programming lineup day-in and day-out, with the exception of some UT games, and the occasional Texas Stars tilt in the AHL. There’s no local sports programming whatsoever. Just Mike & Mike, then the Herd, then Doug Gottlieb, Brian Kenny and Jason Smith. Then, they do it all over again from the top.

Now, at first, I thought this would bother me. “No local coverage? But how will I dig into _____” and the static that followed was not of the shoddy reception, but rather of my own lack of empathy to the local sports market, and, finally, to my own realization that I never listened to local sports radio much, anyway.

WGR up in Buffalo is a fine local radio station. It’s perfect for the market, all bluster and blue-collar with hard-working, colorful local radio personalities. But I never listened to it. I listened to Scott Van Pelt and Freddie Coleman and Jason Smith. I watched PTI. I listened to the Matthew Berry and Bill Simmons podcasts (though, in Simmons’ case in particular, the quality of his program is wildly inconsistent, and it all depends upon the quality of his guests). And that’s it. Still my routine.

As much as I enjoy Buffalo sports, I realized outside of watching (or listening to) the games and reading the local columnists and corresponding SB Nation Blogs for the Bills and Sabres and Syracuse Orange, I didn’t really need all that extra local coverage. Just give me the game locally, and the compelling national storylines, delivered by smooth, polished, engaging personalities – of which there are precious few.

All this extra stuff, all the incessant 24-7 coverage, the rampant repetition of tired talking points by local and national media .. it is exhausting. I feel by 530pm, I can arrange PTI’s entire C-block by myself. Local sports hosts expressing trumped-up outrage over trading a fifth-round draft pick … is exhausting. It registers an 0.8 on my Quality-of-Life Richter Scale.

Over half of all men who wish to go into television broadcasting start out by going into sports. I was one of them. I did the weather for a year. That was enough. Amazingly, based upon the volume of talent it takes to put together a pre-game show, there’s enough jobs for them. Are we losing sight of what’s really important?

Maybe we were supposed to just wake up, listen to our favorite personality deliver the sports news and watch the game at night. Stats can be followed at our leisure. If we were that big into numbers that really mattered, maybe we’d all be stock traders instead of stat junkies. Maybe we could come up with pro-bowl ballots for the S&P, or Top 10 Sexiest Senators.

It doesn’t have that ring to it. At least not yet. For all our deep thinking and disproportionately-placed passion is squarely centered upon sports, for which there are now nearly 300 radio stations devoted squarely to them.

Hi, sir, long-time listener. First-time caller. Why does the lack of a promising prospect at Left Tackle anger you more, sir, than your kid’s juvenile arrest record?

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One thought on “Maybe we weren't meant to think so deeply about sports

  1. Nice read. The national guys start off good and entertaining, then their personal biases intersect with cheese, and it goes downhill. Looking at you Mike and Mike. Local is better and much more entertaining as it’s relevant to your teams and situations. Nationally they can’t explain the frustration of Iggy making 80 million and only being able to dunk.

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