I despise the practice of “miking-up”  (or in the contemporary version, mic’ing up).  This business of putting electronic microphones somewhere on the uniform or outfit of athletes, be the sport football or golf or water ballet, is, in my opinion, one of the final indicators of the decline and fall of western civilization.  I most certainly do not want to know what Bubba, Peyton, or Michelle is “thinking” or saying at any time during the course of a competition.  Totally irrelevant, totally distracting, and – considering the banality or vulgarity of most of what they say – totally depressing.  Certainly not entertaining or inspiring, certainly not anything that enhances either the viewing experience or the positive feelings I might otherwise have had about the athlete.  But it goes beyond even that:  in my opinion, it detracts from the level of performance.

As a lawyer, I am well aware of the phenomenon that lawyers and judges behave differently when you put a camera and a microphone on them in a courtroom – they tend to become self-conscious, to play to an audience, to do all sorts of atypical stuff.  Most importantly, they tend to under-perform because their concentration has been divided or broken.  These are among the reasons why the proceedings of the  U.S. Supreme Court are not telecast.

To me, the whole business of capturing “spontaneous” utterances of athletes is distracting, degrading, a complete downer.  I do not want Bubba worrying about his language during a round, I want him worrying about his round.

4 thoughts on “TURN OFF THE MIC

  1. Spontaneous remarks can be insightful. Phil’s mic-caught comments post Ryder cup let us know what he was saying on the course–“if I don’t pull this shot off its Tom’s fault because he’s the worst Captain in Ryder cup history”.
    I’ve ‘lost that lovin’ feeling’ for Phil.

    • Don’t wish to get too artsy fartsy on this one, but, I while respecting and appreciating your comment, I would like to venture a general observation on my reasons for watching stuff other people do (or have done).

      Just as I look to the arts for inspiration, beauty, things that put me in touch with whatever higher purpose remains accessible to me, I seek something comparable in sports. I have no interest in horror movies, and I never could stand those old Ingmar Bergman Swedish movies where everyone sat around bitching about how his life was more depressing that yours. For that matter, I was not moved by Picasso’s famous Guernica painting – the whole idea that War Is Hell (which, by the way, has mostly been a Lefty theme) seemed to me to miss the entire point, which is that war is grotesque but not something that can be avoided by being anti-war, rather it usually can be won by exercising courage and determination, by acting in an inspired way and beating the crap out of people who mess with you, . I’ll take Washington crossing the Delaware over Guernica, any time. For that matter, I’d generally rather view Monet than Picasso, regardless of which of them is regarded as the more revolutionary artist. I’ll take Beethoven’s string quartets over gangsta rap every time. I want to see exceptional artists doing exceptional things (or see the product of those efforts), I want to see things that move me, that inspire me, that make me think of how wonderful life can be. Translating that to the world of sports, I cannot remember ever having been inspired by any words uttered by any athlete in the heat of competition. I have yet to hear any athlete say anything comparable to the battle cries of Patton or MacArthur or Eisenhower or Churchill. I am inspired – and even then, only occasionally – by athletes when they perform at their best when “in the hunt” on a Sunday, preferably in a Major. It is their privilege to say whatever they want, but generally I wish they would all just shut up and play.

  2. Mike: you are absolutely right. Golfers, baseball players, tennis players, football players have enough to concentrate rather than worry about performing for the public and worry about how they act and what they say off the cuff. It is just another annoyance that gets them out of the zone.

  3. I’m with you 100%.

    While we’re at it, wouldn’t it be a treat to not have managers and players interviewed during a baseball game? Additionally, the thrill of top flight sports competition certainly would be enhanced by play-by-play announcers and color men keeping their mouths shut until they have something worth saying. The thrill is the competition, not the motor mouths detracting from it.

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