Our surf nation turns its lonely eyes to you!
I’ve have just come up from underneath 300,000,000 lbs of American football and the fresh air smells sweet! No more (except Oregon later today and and Seattle vs. Arizona on Sunday)! For our non-US friends, this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is crammed with football from sun up to sun down. I’ve watched bad teams and I’ve watched good teams and I’ve watched good teams play bad (Jimmicane, what happened to your ‘Noles?) but what I haven’t seen is any interesting interviews or post-game press conferences.
The NFL invented bland when it comes to serving up their personalities. Sideline reporters say into the camera, with a completely straight face, during some quarter of the game, “I just talked to coach and he says the team has to work harder at stopping the run.” Or. “Coach just let the players know that they need to stop the run.”
It is annoyingly bad, utterly drained of value or meaning. Isn’t this supposed to be entertainment? The same is true after the game. Players step to the mic and say, “Coach drew up a good game plan. He told us we needed to stop the run.” Or. “My teammates around me did a great job at stopping the run.”
Humility is a virtue on the American sport’s scene and especially so in football. The American, on the couch, wants his athlete humble and especially his football athlete. Apparently, he also wants to know nothing at all, no gossip, no insider news, from reporters during the game.
Surfing, with a number of employees coming over from the NFL and most notably CEO Paul Speaker, has seemed to adopt this ultra bland approach as its own. We still talk about Bobby Martinez lighting off on the tennis tour and that was so so so many years ago. Mason Ho is pure pleasure to watch surf, partially because when he wins heats he gets to talk and who on earth knows what will come of that man’s mouth? Entertainment!
I wish the product, out of the water, would be a little less NFL and a little more pro wrestling. I wish our heroes would call each other out, complain about the judging, make snide comments about their competition. I wish Pete Mel and Strider, though I love their work, would tease out some funny underlying gossip. I mostly wish the humble would get tossed. Humility is not generally part of the professional surfer’s DNA and when he puts it on for the camera it is ill-fitting.
Can a new Bobby Martinez rise this year and put on a show? Who might it be?