Calling Color Commentary

When you think of broadcasters, do you think of a particular person? Perhaps you think of a style, personified by a particular person. Did you think of a kind of broadcaster, like sports, when you read the post title here?

A wise colleague told me once you should only do color commentary IF you’ve played the game before. I’d agree.

Who’s to say a move, plot or idea was a good one, bad one, amazing one, or foolish one without having first been in that position before. Who indeed is someone who’s actually and literally ‘been there, done that.’

You have to know what you're looking at to call color commentary

You have to know what you’re looking at to call color commentary

This particular colleague had been invited to give color commentary (she’d done it in the past too). Plus she’d been a very active participant in the activity she was asked to call and was up to date on the current landscape of the activity. Good fit all around, especially for the end listener who is relying on a professional and skilled commentator.

As a kid I remember making fun of the golf commentators. My sister and I would snicker at the Saturday afternoon golf tourneys my folks would occasionally watch. We’d watch a bit then remove ourselves to another room, so as not to totally ruin it for my parents. We then proceeded to make fun of the narrative, and becoming instant commentators ourselves mimicking whose we’d seen. We’d expound in our own goofy way til we were laughing so hard no sounds were coming out of either of us.

My own childhood experience aside, commentators should only be commenting and guiding conversation if they’re knowledgeable, reputable and diplomatic.

Color commentary involves way more than simply watching an activity and then giving a running narrative. The audience and the subjects will all be best served by those who are qualified to do so.

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