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I found it amusing a couple weeks back when there was a hue and a cry from Green Bay Packers nation. What was it this time? Had the refs made all the wrong calls? Had someone tried to hurt Aaron Rodgers? No, they wanted to ban Fox Sports announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman from calling the next Packers game on TV.

According to the green and gold garbed fanatics, Buck and Aikman were clearly biased against their beloved Packers. A petition was started to never allow those two to ever call a Packers game again. One of the comments was, “I'm signing this petition because the sound of Joe Buck's voice makes me want to punch babies and kittens.” Really?

Okay, I’m not a big fan of Joe Buck. His play-by-play leaves something to be desired, and he too often wanders off on a tangent. I like Troy Aikman and enjoy his view of the game as a former, very successful quarterback. But when I saw this, I thought, “Wait. I thought Buck was clearly biased against the Vikings, especially when they play the Packers.”

And then you can check out Buck’s Twitter account. On there, he says, “I love all teams EXCEPT yours.” So while it might seem like he’s biased, listeners are likely honing in on only the negative things he might comment about their team. After all, during last year’s World Series, Cubs and Indians fans couldn’t agree on which team he hated more.

But the beauty of all this is you don’t have to listen to them if you don’t want to. They are Fox’s #1 announcing team for football which means, you guessed it, they’ll be announcing this year’s Super Bowl. But if the sound of Buck’s voice makes you want to harm innocent creatures, just turn down the volume on your TV.

We have so many choices when watching sports these days. You can turn on a radio and listen to the local team’s play-by-play while watching it. You can stream it online too. Sometimes things aren’t synced up quite right, but that’s a choice you might make. You could even just keep the volume off and provide your own commentary! I’m sure many of us yell at the TV enough that we don’t even get to hear much of what is said.

Watching sports today allows fans to experience their favorite games in so many different ways. While our beloved University of Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s basketball team is not on television as much as we’d like, many people watch or listen to them online. Sometimes local establishments such as the Willows will show games. Compared to how things were not that long ago, you can follow your favorite teams no matter where you are in the world.

When the NCAA football National Championship game was played in January, you could watch it on multiple channels of ESPN. I saw the regular broadcast and then a separate one that had hometown folks from Clemson and Alabama chiming in if you preferred a biased slant to things. I’m sure that was fun for diehard fans of those teams. That’s a good kind of bias!

Of course, if you attend local high school events, you don’t get a choice. I have a lot of fun announcing and get accused of being too biased on a regular basis. So I’ve taken note while following the girls on the road this season of how things compare to other schools. Unfortunately, most schools provide only the introductions and then are done. I did discover someone at least as biased as me behind the microphone in Hayfield though. I found it very entertaining, just as I hope folks do when they hear me.

Now that we have Radio Link working on broadcasting home events on YouTube, an opportunity could be provided to students to become the next Buck or Aikman. I know our school would like to run some games with kids calling the play-by-play, and they’d even be allowed to show that Panther Pride while announcing. I hope some kids try it out; it’s a great chance to be part of the team and also a tremendous resume builder.

At the end of the day, most of us grin and bear it while watching sports on TV. We do have choices, but it’s easier to complain sometimes. I got to thinking that perhaps my disdain for Joe Buck goes back to listening to his father, Jack, announce the 1991 World Series. I didn’t particularly care for him either. When I purchased DVDs of those games a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised though. They gave you the choice to listen to the national broadcast or either the local Twins or Braves radio guys. Now that was a choice that was easy to make! “Touch ‘em all, Kirby Puckett!”

As for the Super Bowl, all I ever want is an entertaining game. I’ll likely pull for the Atlanta Falcons to bring home the hardware since I enjoy seeing teams who have never won the big one finally come through, maybe in hopes that others will do that for the Vikings if they ever make it back to the big show!

 

Word of the Week: This week’s word is bobbery, which means squabble or confusion, as in, “The bobbery over the football announcers quickly died away when the NFL ignored the petition.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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