Andrew Bauld | You Can’t Steal First

As Bryant Gumbel stumbles through his new job as play-by-play man for the NFL Network, even he must realize just how bad he is at a calling a football game. How did a once-great network anchor fall so far to be an NFL commentator? I would call it hubris. I wonder what Gumbel would say …

(December, 1981)Dear Diary, At last, I, Bryant Gumbel, am to take over as anchor of “The Today Show.” My days languishing in football and baseball are over. Goodbye you useless world of sports! Hello political leaders, Hollywood celebrities and fame beyond my wildest dreams. Remember when I claimed, “If you didn’t like this football game then you didn’t like football” after the 1982 Dolphins-Chargers playoff game? Well I didn’t like the game, and I hate football! But no matter – never again will my talents be wasted on this irrelevant game. Here I come, morning talk show host!

(March, 1989)Dear Diary, Willard Scott is an ass. He holds the show hostage with his stupid birthday wishes to 100-year-olds who will be dead before the show even airs. No one cares Willard. And you know what else? Smuckers’ jam sucks, that’s what I say. Gene Shalit keeps calling me Brian. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him.

(April, 1994)Dear Diary, Three years. For three years I have had to endure this never-ending witless banter with Katie Couric. I don’t know how much more I can take. That fake smile, that perfect hair … it sickens me. And this new pretty boy Matt Lauer – oh, how I loathe him.

(November, 2002)Dear Diary, I am through. Done with it all. Done with cooking segments with Martha Stewart, done with feigning interest in how to build a bookshelf with Bob Vila. No more! I was meant for bigger and better things. Maybe CNN is hiring? As long as I am not involved in football in any capacity, I will be fine.

(February, 2006)Dear Diary, I am in Turin for the Winter Olympics. And so I’ve found something I disdain even more than football: figure skating. The name alone curdles in my mouth. It is not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness – for God’s sake, let the games begin. [Bauld’s note: much of the final two sentences are taken verbatim from an actual Gumble rant]

(April, 2006)Dear Diary, Approached by executives from new “NFL Network” today. Swore I never would do this, but we all must make sacrifices. They probably have realized that if brother Greg can do it, then certainly I can call a simple football match. Or is it game? I shall have to look up the terminology. Haha, charade you are, Greg, looks like you aren’t the only Gumbel boy to deal with the Gridlock. I mean Gridiron. I really need to get a book or something before the season starts.

(December, 2006)Dear Diary, Damn it, this football thing is harder than it looks. Literally. From up in the booth it looks like the players move but an inch; I just can’t tell how far they really go. Collinsworth thought he was so smart when he corrected my assumption of a five-yard gain after Palmer got sacked. And he keeps calling me “Gumby.” And how am I supposed to know what down it is? It’s not like that stat is on the screen. Oh, Matt Lauer! You might be losing your hair, but I have lost something far more precious. What price can a man place upon his integrity? Not nearly enough to spend three hours every Thursday night with Chris Collinsworth. Even Couric wasn’t this bad …

(June, 2007)Dear Diary, Fate smiles upon Bryant Gumbel once again. Even though I lasted but a season with the NFL Network, like a cat I land on my feet. ESPN has decided to hire me as their new Monday Night Football commentator. Success!

(September, 2007) Dear Diary, Disaster! Katie Couric and Joe Namath hired to be my fellow commentators for Monday night. Namath keeps hitting on Couric between commercials. Insists on calling me “Brian.” I hate him.

Andrew Bauld is a senior majoring in English and political science. He can be reached at [email protected]


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