I saw a guy on social media making noise about how a certain sports analyst shouldn’t have a job because he hadn’t played the sports he was discussing (basketball in this case) and thus didn’t “know the game.”
This — “knowing the game” — is a pet critique amongst sports fans when they hear an opinion they don’t like.
LeBron is better than Jordan??? You clearly don’t know the game!!
Defense is more important than shooting?? You obviously don’t know the game!!
Anyone using this “know the game” argument is missing the point. ESPN (and other networks) doesn’t make shows about “knowing the game” — if they did, they’d hire the best pro coaches, players and analysts to do all the talking.
The “E” in ESPN stands for Entertainment, not Education. ESPN likes drama. ESPN wants drama. ESPN sells drama.
Do you know what back-and-forth arguments do? They sell. They are the reason WHY ESPN (and others) will have an ex-NBA player at a desk seated across from a guy who never played anywhere and sounds like the everyday guy who argues sports at the water cooler at his car dealership job. The juxtaposition is what makes their opinions so different and real and… entertaining.
If sports TV talk shows were only for those who “know the game,” the shows would be quite informative, and have very small audiences. Most of the people who watch the shows ARE casual, everyday-guy fans. They are not hardcore sports experts who think they know everything about their sports of choice.
The hardcore-knowledge audience is TINY. The entertainment audience is LARGE. ESPN understands this. That’s why those debate shows are so popular.
The casual fan who becomes an analyst is actually the most valuable person on the set: his presence brings the casual fan into the conversation. People who didn’t play the game can feel as if they belong. Casual fans do not tune into sports talk shows to be talked down to by some “real athlete” who clearly “knows the game” and just wants to tell you what it is.
That’s not entertaining.
Further, “knowing” the game and being able to talk about the game in an entertaining way are two very distinct skills. A lot of great players fail in other areas of their respective sports (coaching, managing, analyzing) when they’re no longer in their natural element of playing. Amongst the ex-Pro guys who are good on TV, notice that most of them were not All Stars when they played — and notice that amongst the former All-Stars who try, many of them suck.
Doing the thing and explaining the thing are not the same. Rare is the person who can do both.
Whatever your level of “knowing,” being skilled in communicating it is — and will always be — invaluable. So, listen to episode #1264: 3 Communication Skills You Must Master ASAP here: http://DreAllDay.com/1264-