Ok, so I’m going to stick my neck out here. The real truth is that I know virtually nothing about football, but I have been making a huge effort, and I have been mostly loving the Mafifa 2010 World Cup here in South Africa. I have watched a lot of the games on TV, and while I acknowledge that anything I say about the game has absolutely no basis in experience or expertise, there is an area that I do think I know something about, and that’s the commentary.

I have done a bit of a google to try and put names to the commentators that I have heard on both DSTV and SABC (it sounds like the same guy every time, although I’m pretty certain that that would be impossible), and I’ve just heard one of the studio anchors say Gareth Bloom or Blum, but I googled those and nothing came up, so I really don’t know who they are. They sound British. Anyway, regardless of who they are, I want to complain about what they are; which is almost unnaturally negative.

If there is a bad thing to say about a player, team, ref, coach or attempt at a goal, it is said. Even the ‘colourful and noisy’ descriptions of the crowd and the fans sound negative or critical or condescending. Mistakes are highlighted and blame is dished out at every opportunity. Teams are brutally criticised. Previous failures are enumerated and dwelt on. The chances of anyone impressing are slim. It’s just so dreary! It’s like they are waiting to be disappointed. I have to say, that for me, a believer in the enormous power of positive, the constant talking down of everyone, and everything, including the damn weather, is totally off putting. This guy has just tried to pay the Dutch a compliment by calling them neat and methodical in their previous game, which they won by two goals! Hau!

I would love to do a study which could measure the effects of all the negative speak on the game and players themselves, not to mention us viewers. I guess that is one of the advantages of going to watch the game live. I am just going to sit here, with my vuvuzela ready, to drown out those words; difficult, unfortunate, frustrated, too late, weak attempt, bad move, lackluster, unhappy, cynical, hardly ideal, would have been, blah blah negative blah!