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Jon Champion

Jon Champion does the play-by-play commentary on ESPN for their allotment of English football matches. I must admit I often enjoy listening to him more than watching the matches. His sharp Shakespearean wit often leaves me amused or laughing in amazement. For example, David N’Gog’s first goal against Birmingham City came after a furious goal mouth attack that ended with N’Gog’s “coruscating” volley. I’m going, “What the hell?” and then, “What does coruscating mean?” Of course, after looking it up, I found that it signifies “brilliant in technique or style.” Which was exactly what N’Gog’s volley was—coruscating. It crashed into the underside of the net before anyone, except N’Gog, knew what had happened.

Of course, there are better, most amusing examples of Champion’s wit. From the same game, he comments, “Spectators rise from their seats at the Kop end. The last bastion of Liverpool faith.” Of course, this is a satirical comment on Liverpool’s season. The Reds have five losses in the league so far and lie seventh in the table—hardly where the fans and the pundits expected them to be. The implication is that only the most die-hard of fans would continue to support Rafa. Then there is this comment: “Birmingham come here hoping to prey on frail bodies and frayed nerves.” This is amusing because Liverpool’s two major players are injured. Then, while talking about Birmingham’s season before last (when they went down), he comments, “One of the reasons Birmingham were banished below stairs for a season.” The expression “banished below stairs” is very amusing in this context. It implies servants sent to their space in the lower part of the house. Never would you hear this kind of talk from a commentator of American football or baseball, where the announcers are always macho and totally serious. When Agger and Škrtel come into the box on a free kick, he says, “Here come the heavy mod.” It’s all so funny.

I wonder what an American audience makes of the very English Jon Champion.

November 11, 2009   Comments Off on Jon Champion


The circling eagle
Plunged into the duck-filled lake
And bobbed helplessly.

November 11, 2009   Comments Off on 232