Wednesday, April 29, 2009

my new fan obsession: blazer radio

Here's Travis Outlaw being all pumped up in last night's clincher against Houston.

Great to see, but even better to hear. We're now in month two of our tv ousting, and really, the playoffs were my only regret. Until I started listening to Brian Wheeler and his trademark alliterative tagging of the opposing coach after significant Trailblazer runs. (E.g. After the Blazers 4th Quarter run, Adelman was characterized as "dejected, deflated and devastated!")

Wheeler's commentary is immediate, grabbing and entertaining. He doesn't miss a beat, and he takes in the whole picture, offering realtime tidbits from the bench, the court, the stands and the scoreboard. It sort of comes down to the power of storytelling, I think. The ability of a narrator to pan the landscape and zoom in on nuance and tension, without the aid of visuals. As Lorrie Moore once said in a lecture I attended, "the reason books are more powerful than tv, is that books cannot proceed without you." As a listener, your imagination, experience, emotional state and attention is called upon differently when you have to supply the picture.

The other thing about listening to a sporting event instead of watching one is that the dynamics of a household change. For instance, while we had both upstairs and downstairs radios tuned to 95.5 fm, we were engaged in several other activities. Me: doing dishes and relaxing on the couch; Kirk and Carson: cleaning and organizing his room in anticipation of his big birthday bash coming up this weekend. It was a sort of social multi-tasking, where we converged every so often to comment on Roy's flu symptoms or Scola's foul, or that steal Fernandez made. We all brought more to our interaction this way, each of us interpreting the game with what we were seeing in our respective heads, rather than what may have been on a collective screen.

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