Iâ€™ve long since resigned myself to the fact that U.S. Soccer announcers arenâ€™t the high-end of global footy commentary, but after listening to the broadcast of this afternoonâ€™s U.S.A â€“ Slovakia Olympic hockey game, I was reminded of just how clueless the rest of our sports media is w/r/t coverage of international sports. That is, I didnâ€™t realize just how little vocabulary our media has for the description of a game played by two countries. Allow me to nitpick:
(1) The announcers are so accustomed to broadcasting games featuring teams that fall within the typical naming conventions of North American sports (â€œThe [Place/ University] [Nickname]sâ€) that they continuously stumble in the absence of the nickname, and fill the gap with â€œThe [Name of Resident/ Citizen of Country In Question]s.â€ That is, since they canâ€™t say â€œThe Rangers,â€ they say â€œThe Swedes.â€ What they mean to say is â€œSweden.â€
(2) Since we tend to refer to our Olympic teams as â€œTeam U.S.A.â€ the announcers seem to think that other countries apply this naming convention as well. That is, the guys doing the radio broadcast of this afternoonâ€™s hockey game (who were otherwise excellent â€“ seriously, they were really good), kept referring to the U.S.â€™s opponent as â€œTeam Slovakia.â€ Iâ€™m pretty sure that they donâ€™t sell t-shirts in Bratislava that say â€œTeam Slovakia.â€ Just a hunch.
(3) They refer to countries as a collective noun! No! NOOOOO!!!!!! The soccer way is so much cooler. That is, â€œSwitzerland are playing well in this tournament,â€ not â€œSwitzerland is playing well in this tournament.â€ This distinction is important. Very important.
Otherwise, I applaud all international sports competitions, specifically team sports, and I wish our athletes took their responsibilities to these competitions more seriously. Iâ€™ll shut up now.