WE WERE made for it. Along with eating, using your opposable thumbs to choose a mate on a dating app, walking upright and some stuff that can’t be mentioned before the watershed, there are only a few other things that humans have evolved specifically to do and one of those is listening to the radio.
Soon we are to experience the acme of radio listening. You see, we waited hundreds of thousands of years for radio, another 20 for the mass produced car, 10 years for the car radio and live sport commentary, another decade for a fine Sunday afternoon, but we finally got to fulfil our destiny: listening to a match in the car with the door open.
Yes you could watch the match on a televisual apparatus that are apparently all the rage but some matches — especially football matches — are one-sided affairs. Or worse, they are no-sided affairs with the ball bobbing about between the 45s with all the direction of a dropped counter on Tipping Point.
But put that match on the radio, where you’re not committed to it and it becomes tolerable background noise while you observe who’s passing on the road outside or watch a spider abseil down from the eToll tag.
Yes you could listen to a match while driving somewhere but there are distractions such as other vehicles coming towards you or a shitehawk with italic number plates ‘up your hole’ in the rearview mirror.
No the hurling match on the car radio with the door open, the left leg in the footwell, the right foot being grass-tickled on the ground after you’ve removed your shoes and socks. A paper, an actual newspaper, on your lap previewing the match you are listening to. Reality making a mug out of the pundit. Why not garnish the situation with a big rasher sandwich and a mug of tay? OK let’s not get too prescriptive.
Whatever your bag, you’ll enjoy sitting in a car with nothing to do but listen to a man (surely soon a woman?) trying to tell you where the ball is now without being too intrusive.
There is no Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh any more but we’ve got on with our lives. Everyone’s got a quote but a friend of mine heard my favourite where Micheál was in the habit of seamlessly including news from other sports right in the white heat of hurling and it went something like this.
“The ball is on the ground on the edge of the square, who will come out with it it’s it’s it’s …JESPER PARNEVIK ….has just won the Scandanavian Masters”.
But it doesn’t matter who is commentating. The main job is done by our ears and our minds. Trying to figure out who is indeed going to emerge with the ball. Especially at the start of the championship when players are newish and we mightn’t know who they play for.
Proper fans know who everyone is long before early June, but for the casual fan, say it’s Tipp playing Kilkenny and the place is covered in Ryans and Mahers anyway, you may not know which team has the ball.
You listen to the reaction of the home crowd to see who has emerged from the clatter, who has won the free or the sideline cut. You will hear a goal a nanosecond before it has gone in from the yelp out of the co-commentator who is supposed to be neutral but you just know has raced 40 steps down the stand and is running around with his shirt off.
Or you could throw on local radio so you can hear what a victory really means to these players. Because the commentator reared one of them.
And then you get up and go in for another rasher sandwich and see the TV panel give out about the standard of the match you just heard. They must have been watching a different game to you.