Soccer’s subtle Scottish Secret

Earlier this week, maybe Monday, I happened to catch the start of the Wigan-Manchester United match while eating lunch (for Lapham –  Wigan are the Montreal Expos of the English Premier League, so bad you forget they exist until they’re up against your team; Manchester United are the Yankees) and realized one of the subtle, but ever-present, essential, and most-pleasing, aspects of soccer, especially Premier League, but almost always true, even for non-English speaking matches: the color commentator is Groundskeeper Willie. Just like college hoops has that distinct student-body din and the World Cup had the vuvuzelas and baseball has the calm pace and loudness of a good nap, soccer announcers always include a nearly unintelligible and permanently cranky Scottish guy who says things are either English words that make no sense together or not English words at all. Why is that a positive? Because no matter what is happening in the pitch, part of your brain is hearing and seeing Groundskeeper Willie, which has to make you laugh. You would happily watch a Seahawks-Cardinals or a Hornets-Trail Blazers game if Homer Simpson was doing color commentary….and soccer has that level of subtle absurdity with every televised match.


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