Monday, August 21, 2006

In Praise of John Madden

I was watching the Colts-Seahawks game last night on NBC, the new home of John Madden and Al Michaels. Michaels is a great play-by-play guy, and Madden is, well, Madden.

It's easy to riducule Madden (fun, too)--the silly onomatopoeias, the obvious statements, and his style in general. But, last night, the man was a prince.

Michaels pointed out that Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy's son was on the sideline watching the game. Then he started in about Dungy's son Michael, who committed suicide last year. Naturally, that must have been awful for Dungy and his family. Michaels seemed intent on milking the pathos from last year's event. He went on for a few minutes about how it affected Dungy, and his family, and then posed a question to Madden (I'm paraphrasing here): "And, John, don't you think that it was his faith that helped him get through that tragedy?"

Madden's response: Silence.

Way to go, John. Leave the personal tragedy alone. Michaels cheapened the incident, and the family's grief, with his rambling, barely coherent monologue. Madden did the right thing by ignoring the question and letting the subject die.

I want my sports to be about sports. The Olympics are nearly unwatchable anymore, because we have to hear about every goddamn athlete's Personal Story of Overcoming Tragedy. Everybody fucking overcomes tragedy, okay? We've all got 'em. If you don't overcome it, you curl up into a ball and die.

Thanks, John Madden, for keeping the broadcast about the game, and not exploiting the events of the personal lives of the players or coaches. You're the man.

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