Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Raccoon Tennis

It rained in LA today. Just for a minute or two but it rained nevertheless and the feeling was brilliant.Don't get me wrong, I am Scottish and fully in the camp that when it rains all the time it's a nightmare. Even now, the smell of wet dog takes me right back to Cumbernauld in the 70s and the long walk to Muirfield primary school, wearing a dufflecoat.
But a little bit of rain is fantastically refreshing.

Similarly, I was refreshed by the BBC apology about commentator John Inverdale this week. 
Refreshed? Why? Wasn't it the same old, "We're terribly sorry blah blah blah, in no way reflects the opinions of blah blah blah". Well, yes it was. But this time the BBC was apologising for on-air comments made by an employee, rather than for him being a pedophile. 
(I've had sinusitis for ages now and I'm looking for positivity where I can find it - so I found that a refreshing change.)

Anyway, John Inverdale, who is he? He's a British sports commentator who was reporting on BBC radio, live from the Wimbledon Women's finals. 
Here's what he said before the match, about the winner, Marion Bartoli.

"You think Bartoli's dad told her when she was little '...You're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight'?"

Maybe John. Maybe. 
In the same way your mother may have said, 

"Try your hardest to get a job on radio son. That way nobody will see what you look like, and it'll make it that much harder when you say something completely stupid and they want to seek you out to laugh in your face."

Here's a picture of John for reference....just in case.

Look at that. What a prime example of manhood. Why Bartoli's poor, little, French heart must be all broken up inside,  thinking that even though she's won her place in history, and a pretty solid income stream, she'll never win the attentions of such a manly prize.

Anyway, the BBC apologised and now Inverdale's apologized too apparently. Seems he thinks. "She is an incredible role model for people who aren't born with all the attributes of natural athletes."

Ah John. Some sentences you might find yourself thinking, but really shouldn't say. But, thank you for making me feel so much better about myself this week. And for not being a pedophile. (Like I say, sinusitis)

Bartoli is completely over it - and why wouldn't she be? She's young, talented and gorgeous. What does she care about the comments of a frustrated (just guessing) middle-aged, man?

But people are annoyed and I get that. 

It annoys me too when someone who's employed to do one thing, seem inclined to do something else. 
Like when the guy who comes to rid you of your  "Raccoon issue" wants to assure you that your accent sounds much more Irish than Scots.
 "I know where I come from Raccoon guy. Just set the traps and shut your face."  
is what I thought, but didn't actually say - On account of I wanted him to deal with my "Raccoon issue,"  and if you've ever had raccoons setting up home under your home, you'll know why.
(and I've had sinusitis)

Inverdale was at Wimbledon to report on the sport of tennis, not to open his great big mouth and make Homer Simpson sound like a genius.
Just as Bertoli was there to play tennis and not to warm the dark and dormant, front-regions of Inverdale's pants.

The BBC received a number of complaints about Inverdale being sexist. But I'm not sure I agree. Stupid, undoubtably. Ignorant, you've got it. But sexist? Hmmn.

I jreckon his comments come from the same school of "blatant rudeness" as those that seem to crop up about Andy Murray's, supposed, "personality issues." 
(You can bet if Murray hadn't won Wimbledon, his "personality issues" would have had something to do with it.)
I can't tell you how often I find myself yelling at computer screens and radios  - "Andy Murray is not your personal friend. He's a brilliant tennis player and it seems like he might be an all round pretty good bloke. I don't know if he has an odd personality because I don't know him personally and neither do you. Can he play tennis brilliantly? Yes he can. That's all I know."

Commentating on sport  - particularly on radio - can be an art form. Conveying the excitement of a live event, without the need for visual, is a proper talent. Summing up an atmosphere with nothing more that vocal tone and words, is an amazing skill.  
And then there are other forms of commentating ....

There have been calls for Inverdale to be fired, or for his resignation, but to be honest I think he resigned himself a long time ago. 
As much as he knows about sport, Inverdale will never know what it is to be a Bertoli or a Murray. He's as separate a species as Raccoon Guy is to Raccoon.

Raccoon Guy told me he knew about accents, because he'd originally come to LA to be an actor. 
I forced my eyebrows to raise, surprised.
Then Raccoon guy told me that he'd studied accents, and,  He said, I definitely sounded much more Irish than Scottish.
And I nodded and smiled and said it was probably my sinuses.