The task of a commentator seems to be tough but to make it more engaging so as to keep the attention of the enthusiasts coming on the stage hooked to the game is something only a commentator can do. A commentator has to grasp the knowledge of the game and present it in the most engaging way possible, increasing the aesthetic of the commentating meanwhile procuring every knowledgeable information in the dialogue is nothing but a tough task.
The game of football lasts 90 minutes whereas the game of rugby lasts for 80 minutes and the basketball being the smallest with 48 minutes. Even though the game lasts no longer than the average of 90 minutes, the tour de France lasts more than six-hours. The timing of the game has no impact on the timing of the tour de France.
Even the shortest day of the cycling 117.5km, stage 14 of the year 2019 took not more than three hours. It was won by Thibaut Pinot. In short, it can be said that commentating on a game can be a tough task no matter how long it is, it is like filling in the cracks with information and details.
The action of the game relies heavily on the starting point of the game and the ending point of the game. It is at the breakaways of the games, the commentators start their action by filling in with details and making it more interesting.
The breaks can be an hour-long, so it can be a tough task to retain the same enthusiasm. “Commentating on cycling is not like snooker or tennis,” was told by Carlton Kirby who is the principal commentator for Eurosport’s cycling coverage. He has been in the commentator business for more than ten years as he started his journey from 1996.
He was further heard saying “In tennis, you never talk through a point because the crowd don’t. In certain sports, you have to respect the action, and then you comment on it. That makes for a really easy job, as far as I’m concerned. There are some other sports, like cycling, where the commentary has to be complete. There are no gaps – you might shut up for five seconds or so to listen to the crowd, but that’s it.”
It is tough to be in the right when the attention is divided between the two however the commentator has to channel not only his own personal experience and information to the field but also from the others in order to make it more pop and diverse.
He further explained why it is very tough yet important to manage the comments with a touch of aesthetics. He cites “Quite often you are talking while being handed a note, being spoken to by the director, and listening to race radio at the same time as well, There’s an awful lot of distractions to keep on top of, so if you happen to be looking at your notes when somebody has a moment and you don’t see it, it’s not your fault”. However, it doesn’t really stop the fans from becoming his ardent fans.
The aim of the comments is to keep the listeners hooked to the point but in between the games, remarks being passed, notes and points being shared, it becomes tough to fill the void of the intense pressure of the games. Many people from the forum have called out his removal citing his usage of ‘inane chatter’, ‘terrible jokes’ and ‘unnecessary screaming’ as a result. This is where the judgement is divided as many fans are dedicated to his knowledge and experience.
When asked about the criticism, Kirby opined “It’s not like the written press where you can write something out and finesse it and shave it, I don’t have that gift. Once I’ve said something, a couple of hours later it’s hitting Saturn. It’s gone, it’s irretrievable. There is no editing process, except between the brain and the larynx. Once it’s out there you’re done, so you’ll just have to forgive me if I make the odd gaffe”
When asked about how the aesthetics of commentating should be, he claimed “Some commentators won’t commentate, they’ll fall back onto stats. Anyone can log into Pro Cycling Stats and start pretending that they’re highly knowledgeable about some guy who’s in the breakaway. If anyone starts giving you any palmarès, they’re not commentating, they’re reading off a list. I could sit there and start giving you stats, I could start giving you tech. Stats and tech are the stock-in-trade of the uninformed. You’ll get an awful lot of history coming out, which is completely useless as far as I’m concerned, for the entertainment value of the day”
The challenges of the commentators are rigorous yet something that will leave a long-lasting impression on the heart of all those who will be present there. Veteran cyclist Commentator Carlton Kirby comments on the challenges he took as a commentator, the criticism he received by the fans and his artistic presentation of the dialogue series of the game.
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