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I love Seinfeld. I don’t know if there is a show I’ve re-watched more than Seinfeld. There was an episode when George was trying to think of a new career. George mentioned that he enjoyed sports thought that he could make a good announcer or color man for professional baseball. Jerry burst his bubble when he reminded him that broadcasters tended to be ex-ballplayers. George replied that he did not think it was very fair. This joke was made fifteen years ago, and it tends to hold pretty true across the board in sports. When I tune into watch an NFL game I expect to hear Troy Aikman or Brian Billick breaking down and analyzing the events that are transpiring on the field. What I don’t expect to hear is my local weatherman, who has never taken a snap at even the high school level, telling me why the Ravens are playing in Tampa 2 coverage.
For some reason, when races like the marathon or the Baltimore 10 Miler air the local news team that I watch for traffic are providing the analysis. While they are great at what they do, they usually are not knowledgeable in competitive running. Why put them in that spot? Why not use, I don’t know… professional runners to announce a running event? Within five minutes of my shop, we have a guy who has qualified for the Olympic Trials in various distances for multiple Olympic games. We also have a running author and coach who have assisted runners in the area for years. We even have a college coach who has helped not just collegiate runners, but post-collegiate runners achieve their full potential. I would imagine that any of those guys would do a great job breaking down strategy and form from their unique perspective, providing excellent coverage for viewers.
I do enjoy the feel and the personal stories of the runners who are not going to win but are out there giving it their all. I like seeing the oldest entry (93 years old!) in the half marathon line with his family to tackle the distance together. However, I get frustrated with comments like “well, this marathon is 26.2 miles” and little details such as when they fail to update the women’s race for the first two hours. I don’t enjoy seeing non-runners on camera trying GU Energy and making faces about how weird it tastes. I especially get ticked when the runner who eventually wins was announced as a relay participant for the first half of the race and therefore not a factor. I don’t fault the anchors at all – they are simply doing their job and trying to report the race to the best of their abilities. I just wish they used people in the community who could use their expertise to present the event as an important sporting event, not as an event where 25,000 weirdos show up to jog around downtown Baltimore.
I understand that I am probably a part of the minority as I can watch a marathon and be interested the entire time. I totally get that the network is trying to fill hours and hours of coverage and maybe it is easier to keep non-runners tuned in by having familiar faces of their daily news to provide information. Maybe next year the news team can just handle the inspirational and human pieces and let the runners manage the race updates? Post your thoughts below on our blog, I would love to hear your opinion!