Saturday, January 24, 2009

No Homers Club: Not Gibson's finest moment

Fun, fun: Showboating, fisticuffs, shameless homerism and its perpetrator losing his gig, maybe over an staggeringly tasteless comment about a coach's ancestry.

The one positive is that out of this, a new term has been born -- getting Averyed, to describe the process in hockey whereby someone is punished for a remark that hits a little too close to home within the game's old boy culture.

Long story short, the other night in a WHL game, noted Sean Avery acolyte Kyle Beach , who plays for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, tweaked the Medicine Hat Tigers by taking his sweet time before scoring a game-icing empty-net goal. A brawl broke out and one of the Lethbridge announcers, Dick Gibson, went a little over-the-top while failing to point out his guy, Beach, kind of set off Medicine Hat.

A couple blogs note that Gibson has been removed from his position. The kicker, at least according to a commenter at YouTube, is that it wasn't entirely for blowing his stack during the brawl.
"As s for the guy commentator that got fired ... it wasn't for his comments during this, it was after when they were interviewing canes assistant coach who is of ethnic background who said he couldn't see see over the players so he didn't know what was going on in which the commentator responded with 'don't use your background as an excuse' in which he replied 'I'm not, I'm just saying I'm short.' "
The Hurricanes have an assistant coach named Matt Kabayama, who is 5-foot-8 and played in Japan professionally for more than a decade. Please bear in mind that is not definitive proof, but the talk is out there and the Hurricanes do have a coach who's short in stature and "ethnic," quote-unquote.

Obviously, this has a serious side, which the WHL broadcasters at After The Whistle and Regan's Rant address quite admirably. There is so much pathos being projected all over the place. Scratch a man who does colour commentary for a major junior hockey broadcast and at heart, you have a fan with broadcasting know-how. Homers tend to be the norm, not the exception. It can be almost endearing, in a way.

You tune into a junior game and you expect to hear the play-by-play man putting a positive spin when everything goes wrong, like when a team blows a three-goal lead in the third period and remains stuck on a Canadian Hockey League-worst total of nine wins, not that that's what happened to the Kingston Frontenacs last night.

That got the better of Dick Gibson. Making a crack about someone's "background," though, is way out of bounds. Hockey coaches have been relying on the standby, "I didn't see it," since the days of Eddie Shore. It's a privilege of the office no matter regardless of the coach's race, colour, creed or vertically-challengedness.

Gibson very well might have got the boot just for his on-air antics. Still, a player did something you might see from Sean Avery, and a grown man might have ended up with the same fate as Sean Avery, punished for saying something that was a little too close for comfort. Avery's banishment from hockey probably just got extended another month.

We can make this on topic (


Anonymous said...

Apparently that was absolute garbage, or so I'm told.

kinger said...

That's the kind of stuff that makes broadcasting a joke at times.

You can tell as well that the play-by-play guy tries to get reality out there, by hinting that it was Beach's fault for taunting the other side, but as soon as Gibson goes on his rant he adheres to that mantra I hate so much of never contradicting your colour man.

To then say that the Tigers took exception to Beach "for scoring an empty net goal" goes beyond just plain rose-coloured glasses and homerism, that shows a major inability to understand the game and why something like that happens. So that's two levels on which this guy embarrasses the field in the course of a few minutes.

The third level would be this racism incident, but Neate I think you've said it best there.

Absolute garbage broadcasting more like.

Dennis Prouse said...

When I first heard this clip, I thought Gord Wilson had moved to the Prairies.

Anonymous said...

As a city, Lethbridge is Paris compared to Medicine Hat, but when it comes to hockey teams, Lethbridge is Medicine Hat's Beach.

If that had happened at the Memorial Arena in the Hat, there would have been fans coming over the boards. Beach got off very lightly.

Dennis Prouse said...

Homer broadcasters in general make me cringe. I know that in most cities, the broadcasters work for the home team, or at the very least work for the de facto house radio station. Still, you owe it to the listeners/viewers to be at least somewhat objective. Listening to Gord Wilson cry about the officiating every night is the worst part about the Senators broadcasts - I want to throw my radio off the freaking roof when he starts the pity party. I am not asking for him to dump all over the home team. All I want is for him not to cry every time someone puts a stick on Alfie, and to stop making it sound like the Senators are being beaten on by the Hanson brothers.