Apologies to a few friends who make a rather nice living describing televised football and hockey games to us couch potatoes. I hate to say this, but I’m not sure I need you any more, at least not nearly as much as I used to think that I did.
This personal ‘ah ha’ moment came as my wife and I watched the games that were played in the Canadian Football League this past week. Everything was status quo as we watched the Blue Bombers win a thriller over the visiting Toronto Argos, with Glen Suitor and Chris Cuthbert describing what we were watching.
The next night it was Montreal hosting Calgary. The TSN broadcast team was the dreaded combo of Rod Black and Matt Dunigan, and I turned to the Mrs. and said “How about we watch without the soundtrack?” She agreed and off it went.
I have to say that watching the game in mostly silence is a lot less stressful, and more enjoyable. We could hear birds singing outside our window, and we could converse a lot more easily, supplying own commentary.
The two remaining games in week 4 were watched the same way, and I think we may have crossed a minor Rubicon. Almost everything you need to follow the game is on the screen if you pay attention.
The TV people have tried this themselves a few times over the years.
Flash back a dozen years to the summer of 2005. The dear old CBC was still doing CFL games with the late Don Wittman on play-by-play, but for two months that season they showed the games without announcers because of a labour dispute.
Would you believe audience numbers went up? I ran all of this past a CFL radio voice who shall remain nameless, worrying that he might brand me a traitor of some sort.
He confessed to me that he has enjoyed watching televised hockey without announcers for quite a while.
I’m Roger Currie