(or at least psychopathic)
I’m watching the end of stage four of the Tour, and Carlton ‘Composure’ Kirby has just read the mind of the rider Alberto Contador, quoting his commands to race radio exactly; worrying, this is not the first time I’ve seen a commentator understand the intentions of an athlete without hearing them speak, or reading their lips: football’s Andy ‘I Heart Women!’ Gray started all this, with his constant mind-reading of the ball in quoting it as saying ‘Please head me’; and ITV’s Andy ‘4-4-Frakking-2’ Townsend regularly taps into his inner psychic to let us know that the players ‘Got enough of the ball’, despite giving out career-threatening tackles.
The obvious question, then, is why don’t these learned men of the mind put their skills to better uses; negotiating with criminals who’ve taken hostages would be reduced to a simple reading of their intentions, police interrogations would require far fewer poorly furnished rooms (although this could destroy the two-way glass industry), and the NSA could make their surveillance more efficient by turning Carlton’s mind-reading into a computer code, and run that through all of our phones, saving some poor government bastard from having to read our painfully unfunny tweets.
Therefore, these commentators must be prevented from doing such charitable things, meaning they must be one of two things: a race of mentally-powerful, yet emotionally distant, superbeings, sent here to learn the true value of empathy and charity (which is a bit like the plot of My Little Pony, so read into that what you will), or they are a secretive cult of humans who have learned, through years of training, to perfect their telepathic powers.
This latter option is far more reasonable (not least because the first one is copyrighted by Hasbro); any fantasy or sci-fi fan is aware of the narrative of power too great to ever be used, and so it is likely that our commentator’s predecessors have sealed their mental powers away, reducing them to the level of sporting analysts, not even the athletes themselves, in an attempt to protect the world order as we know it; I don’t know the age of this organisation, but it speaks volumes of their great physic powers that they were able to foresee the demise of the two-way glass industry, years before it happened, and had the intelligence to prevent it.
This also explains the difficulty of becoming a sports commentator; people with medical degrees become doctors, people with teaching degrees become teachers, and people with mechanics’ apprenticeships become mechanics, all as part of a natural career progression, while there are no ‘commentary’ degrees. Even the less obvious career trees, such as an English degree, have options, such as teaching, writing, or working in Burger King, but there isn’t even a bottom rung of the ladder to get into commentating, let alone a greasy pole to shin up.
Which leads me to believe that membership is incredibly difficult to obtain and can only be done through particularly obscure means, such as bathing in a specific quantity of Andy Townsend’s sweat for a very precise amount of time, or watching fifteen consecutive hours of Andy Gray’s analysis of football matches without once thinking ‘O god, he disregards half of the humans on the planet for no apparent reason’.
But a key problem with this cult is that its not particularly popular; sporting analysis is a fool’s errand because, like refereeing, one decision will invariably alienate someone in the crowd or on the field; if a team loses a match, there are a million different solutions, on a tactical, managerial, and individual level, and choosing just one to focus on in a fifteen minute post-game segment won’t please everyone.
So, this cult must obtain its members from another source; abduction is out of the question, as anything involving Andy Gray can’t possibly include women in it in any meaningful sense, and the fact that a staggering 50% of the Earth’s population has been selfishly taken over by these ‘female’ individuals means random kidnappings are too likely to involve women to be worthwhile as a long-term recruitment strategy.
I reckon its familial, that generations of Carlton Kirbys and Andy Townsends have been talking about sport for the entertainment of others, under the guidance of their forefathers, an idea reinforced by the fact that the latter’s ideas about football tactics would have been considered outdated in 1476.
And so there is no way for us mere mortals to enter into these hallowed ranks, and gain access to the awesome knowledge that is the telepathic powers of the sports commentator; but it has been said that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, and so perhaps this knowledge is best contained in commentary boxes and punditry studios across the world, leaving the majority of us unaware of the terrible burden these disembodied voices have to carry, cunningly disguised as annoying chatter.
Commentators, I salute your great and terrible power.