Monday, June 14, 2010

Real Highlight Reel

It's Worldcup time. Every 4 years ESPN stands up and pretends it's been following soccer non-stop and pretends America is interested in the exciting sport of soccer. There is a lie in all of this. I've played soccer from third grade and into college. There is some low-level of interest and it's growing; there is more & more of a following so ESPN isn't completely wrong on pretending it's there. The big lie is that soccer is exciting to watch. You could compress that 90 minute game down to 5 minutes of highlight runs & saves and be complete. The entire world cup could be done in a good 2 hour spectacle. That would be exciting. Would watching a World Cup game live be exciting. Sure. On TV I'm bored after 5 minutes. It competes with watching a wedding ceremony on TV.

Baseball is America's pastime because it's not America's active time. From it's roots it was great for radio with plenty of fill potential for the commentators. On TV it's good to fall asleep to. A close second is NASCAR with the constant motor drone. My grandfather had a knack for watching races & waking up for the crash replays and the final 5 laps. It seems like the proper way to handle watching races.

Attending a game flips the switch. I have not attended a NASCAR race (but a few smaller ones). There's excitement in the air with the sounds & smells. The atmosphere just cannot be duplicated. Baseball carries the same with the vendors and the crowd and the fill-in entertainment between innings. Again like weddings. Boring on TV but it'd be great with a few vendors selling beer & peanuts.

Football seems meant for TV with the frequent pauses that work well for quick commercials. At an NFL game the pauses get in the way; somehow they never bothered me in my living room.

Every second of play of Ultimate has excitement potential. The game flows nearly nonstop between goals similar to hockey. Every pass has the potential for a tremendous diving catch or jumping over your opponent for the grab. And the defense is fighting for the same. The greatest excitement of wide-receivers & corners on every point and every pass. PLUS the skill of the thrower in judging speed and placement for the disc.

I think a good ultimate game would expand in time with highlights. The fake, juke & cut that makes a defender fall down and leaves you wide open running deep to the endzone. The thrower recognizing this and setting up the huck with 2 fakes to shake the mark. A deep defender recognizing the opening and trying to cover for his fallen teammate. All of this happens within 10 seconds and can be shown for 2 minutes in the setup & execution. Same for defense with a well time poached or well played switch that stymies an offense. This isn't even looking at the completion of a swing pass that requires a layout catch because the D is playing that well.

Mostly ultimate has been ignored because sports channels see one clip from the 80's with 5 different shades of blue cut shirts running against 5 different shades of red. The USAU (formerly UPA) has required uniform standards and for good reason; quit looking like a bunch of rag-tag players and start getting some respect. The highlight reels are worth watching because it is a real sport. It's a sport for real people to play and enjoy everywhere.

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