If you’re a soccer fan, you have been watching Euro 2012. Maybe you PVR the games then spend the rest of the day avoiding all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers so you don’t hear the score (only to overhear a conversation on the bus that spills the beans). Maybe you’ve taken time off work, or take very, very, very long lunch breaks. If you’re a fan, you’re watching, and a lot of people are. Last Saturday’s Germany/Portugal game drew more than 1 million viewers on TSN; an NBA playoff game that night drew 417,000.
Still, most of you aren’t watching at all. Maybe you just don’t like soccer, which is fair. I mean, there are people who actually like baseball, so there’s no accounting for taste. But for those of you who don’t care, I would still like to encourage you to watch a game. Pick one, it doesn’t really matter much. Just pick a game, and revel in The Beautifully Televised Game.
The soccer world’s big events, like Euro or the World Cup, bring out the best in television. You could almost ignore the action (or inaction, depending on your point of view) on the field and just lose yourself in the beautiful images.
There is no better televised sport in the world than Euro, and that includes the Super Bowl and any other major sporting event you can name.
The super slow motion replays are astonishingly clear, with magazine photograph clarity. One of the great things about soccer is that the players are unencumbered by equipment, so you get tremendous, in-your-face close-ups. Sure, most soccer players are butt ugly (Wayne Rooney, anyone?) and the ones who aren’t seem to apply 10W40 to their hair (seriously, Ronaldo, dial it back a bit). But you get faces, and emotions, and expressions in soccer that you don’t see in football or hockey.
Emotion is what it’s all about in soccer, and the telecasts love the rabid fans. If there were 50,000 people in an arena, I would say roughly half of them get at least a brief close-up. And, speaking as a man, I’m happy to report that they are not afraid to seek out the most beautiful women in the crowd. Is that sexist? Sure, but who cares?
Every game has wonderful fan moments. During Ukraine v. France, a Ukrainian player was lining up for a free kick from a scoring position. Ukraine was down 2-0 at the time, so it was a must score situation, (Non-spoiler alert: he missed.) As the player was lining up, cameras caught a lovely Ukrainian supporter, and closed in as she crossed her fingers — topped with wildly decorated inch-long nails. At the end of the game, cameras caught two older fans, one of which was trying desperately to wake up his snoozing friend. And from another game, can you top this wonderful, hilarious and even heartwarming image of pure joy from this little Ukrainian kid?
I’m telling you, folks: if you’re not watching, you’re missing out. The CFL season is a couple of weeks away, so check out a Euro game to see how sports should be televised. (Note to TSN: super slow motion is an old technology now. Maybe you can pick up a super slow motion camera or two at a European TV network garage sale once Euro is over.)