Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thank God for Craig Forrest!

"Just how many donkeys will I need to overthrow the Sandinistas?"

After a summer which saw the U20 World Cup and Toronto FC take over the city, along with Beckham-mania everywhere else, I remain unconvinced that soccer will ever be big in this country. It’s a bit of a shame, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

Why won’t it take off? The reason it’s never going to take off is the rolling, faking, embellishment, crying, lying and cheating put forth on the pitch by what seems to be the vast majority of the players and teams in the game. In Canada, (where hockey rules) and the United States, (where football seems to be the sport of choice), fans have no patience for the antics of soccer players. You would never see Dion Phaneuf or Paul Posluszny pretending to get hit, and then fall to the ground in an attempt to bait the ref into making a call. There is a 0.0% chance of this happening.

There is no doubt that the casual sports fan in North America thinks the average soccer player is a total wuss….and fair enough, the reputation has been earned. People don’t want to root for weaklings! (Unless you bet on the longshot in a Strongman competition….that might be the only time you want to root for the weak dude. Or maybe when Brian Moorman is punting…he doesn’t seem that tough. Best punter ever though…)

Canadian and American soccer fans - do not give up hope! For the most part, our national teams are made up of players who don’t play this way. That’s probably because most of our national team members did not grow up in Portugal, Italy, Chile or Honduras. To go along with stand up players like Jim Brennan and Brian McBride, we’ve got a leader who will lead us through the BS which is any game against a CONCACAF opponent, and sketchy Central American refs. That leader is Craig Forrest.

I just finished watching the Canada – Costa Rica “friendly” being played here in Toronto this evening. Craig Forrest reprised his role as HATER of all the diving and faking and general cheating in soccer…and I commend him for it. Most announcers will try to remain reserved and impartial – citing the diving as “part of the game” whether they agree with it or not. Craig Forrest is the only commentator I have ever heard who is clearly against this behavior….and he is vocal about it. The disgusted tone in his voice whenever a Central or South American hits the deck, as if being hit by a drunken Billy Joel, is priceless. I’m pretty sure at one point he wanted to leave the booth to pick a fight with Costa Rican head coach, Hernán Medford, (who sort of looks like Barry Bonds, and was wearing a leather jacket from Danier’s “Burt Reynolds Collection” this evening). Craig Forrest might just be a loose cannon….ergo, I recommend his broadcast work to everyone. It’s only a matter of time before he curses on air and gets fired….let’s enjoy him while we have him.

Post Script - In a perfect world, all sporting events would be broadcast by a tandem of Gus Johnson on play-by-play, and Craig Forrest doing colour. (The greatness of Gus Johnson is a story for another day.) For now, just read this post from Awful Announcing. Enjoy the first 42 seconds of the video, and then turn it off immediately.


  1. This HATER of faking is the same that during the U20 World Cup final criticized the Argentinians for their diving and injury fakes, but minutes later, he praised Czech Rep after they scored and started doing the same, saying that's an intelligent way to play the game.
    Crap Forrest never learnt how to play soccer, and he certainly will never understand the game.


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