This may be a little random (like anything else I focus on isn't?), but I've been sitting on this for a few weeks. ESPN, in all of its glory, annoys the shit out of me. My primary complaint is the schtick that all ESPN personalities feel they need to have in order to convey information. Mike and Mike are prime examples (One is fat and likes manly things, the other is skinny and metro-sexual! The only way to get laughs is to constantly refer to this!). Chris Berman is another (I make up funny nicknames and make loud noises! Aren't I the best broadcaster ever? Look! I caught a pass in a Buccaneers uniform! Also, get skinny with this weight-loss program, and then get fat again at Applebees!). Even my beloved Bobby Knight, he of the never-ending knowledge of basketball, sticks to his gimmick like a toddler and a blankey (I had disputes with refs during my career, therefore I hate them, and think they're stupid! Laugh along with Brent Musberger as I talk about this!) But of all the ESPN personalities with over-powering gimmick syndrome, Dickie V is, by far mind you, the worst. (LOL, he talks constantly about his baldness and poor eye-sight, is constantly energetic, loves Duke and the ACC, and is old! He's awesome baby! And don't forget to watch this clip of Jim Valvano talking about his cancer for the 20,000th time! Also, eat at Hooters!)
(Dick Vitale in his natural element, yucking it up with Duke fans)
I can't stand Dickie V. Maybe that's part of the appeal to some, but to me he is unimformative, and a distraction to the aesthetics of the game. His unending enthusiasm is his largest drawback in my eyes. He's too busy OOOOOOOOOing and moaning and playing his role to actually break down the game in any meaningful way. I've come to accept that I don't like Dickie V, and I avoid watching games he covers whenever possible. Which brings me to the Illinois v Michigan St. game from earlier this month.
I watched because my roommate is in to MSU, and I am an Illinois Basketball fan from way back. Unfortunately, Dickie V was the color analyst for the game. Dickie V was in fine form, let me tell you. Talking in his barely comprehensible horse croak, moaning after ever drive to the basket, nearly fainting after nearly basket, etc. When Illinois won, beating a top 5 Michigan St. team, the students (who, if you're unfamiliar with Assembly Hall in Champaign-Urbana, stand not 3-feet from the court) rushed the court. This was predictable in my eyes. I like it when a student section rushes after a big home win. It shows energy and engagement from the student body. It also adds to the atmosphere of a big game. More importantly, it's an opportunity for the kids to have good, clean fun. As long as the defeated opponent is significantly better (or higher-ranked) than you are, the students should rush, in my opinion. Dickie V, on the other hand, was not impressed.
He repeatedly slammed the Illinois student body for rushing the court, even calling the act disgraceful. Wow, is Dickie V stupid. I'm sick and tired of old white guys trying to rain on the fun of sports. Vitale repeatedly cited that kids could get hurt, and that it was a danger to the players and officials. Really? Kids rush the court/field at major victories every week. When's the last time you've heard of someone getting hurt during a court/field rush? I imagine, since there are many who share the sentiments of Dickie V (including the SEC who fine schools who allow their kids to rush the court/field), that any such incident would be trumpeted from the hilltops as proof that college-aged kids, properly lubed, are dangerous and deserve to be penned in. His stance is as full-of-it as his schtick is.
I guess my first mistake was watching the game with the volume up, I won't make that mistake with any Dickie V game I decide to watch again. But his presumption that the refs, or the players, should fear for their lives in the face of happy 20-somethings is naive, and reeks of typical "Turn that music down and get off my lawn" old-guy grousing.
It should also be noted that Vitale was later seen, after the ESPN cameras had been turned off, yucking it up on the court with those same Illini fans he found so dangerous moments prior. Yeesh, is that guy lame.