25 September 2007

The Best Show on TV

Thank you all for the kind welcome to The DCenters.

Last Saturday afternoon (Sept. 22, if you actually care) I was downtown playing pick-up Ultimate Frisbee. One of the other players there was wearing his Michael Ballack GNT jersey, so we got to talking about soccer, futbol, Man U. (his club of choice) and DC United (mine).

Now as an aside, I consider my DC United jersey to be "the best shirt I own" and frequently refer to it as such. I don't even like to wear it when I go to RFK to see a match because I don't want to get it sweaty or have beer spilled on it or even maybe get hit by a Metrobus while wearing it. (Another point: black jerseys in July are no fun.) But there is NO WAY I would wear a soccer jersey (which aren't cheap) to play UF. But I digress.

I recommended a TV show to the Ballack fan that day that I will recommend to you now as well. It is called the UEFA Champions League Highlights Show. The show next airs on Friday, October 5th at 2pm on ESPN2. Set your TiVo.

If you've seen the show before, you will already know that there is a one hour episode of highlights and analysis for each UEFA Champions League Matchday. The analysts are Derrick Rae, Tommy Smyth and in the Matchday 1 episode a guy named Janusz Michallik who I wasn't familiar with prior, but who's first name is coincidentally my mother's maiden name. So, yay Poland!

from wikipedia:

Janusz Michallik (born April 22, 1966 in Chorzów, Poland) is a retired U.S. soccer defender and current soccer coach and television sports commentator.

Michallik moved to the United States with his father, a former Polish national team player, at the age of 16. His father had previously spent time in the U.S. in 1976 when he played for the Hartford Bicentennials of the North American Soccer League. While Michallik played for the junior Polish national team, he never played for the senior team, making him eligible for the U.S. team once he gained his citizenship.

UCL has 8 groups of four teams each - standard format - but with 16 matches each Matchday, that is a lot of highlights to get through in only an hour. But they pull it off and do it superbly. AND they find time for analysis. For example, in the MD1 episode they talked about Mourinho's departure from Chelsea, Henry's move to Barca and the influence of Fenerbahçe's Brazilians (that match against Inter looked like it was awesome!)

It is also interesting that as the tournament progresses to and through the elimination rounds, the show remains an hour long, so the highlights and analysis get even more and more in-depth (with maybe only one or two more Heineken commercials). By the time the finals come, you are getting an entire hour devoted to one match. Fantastic!

Champions League is of the highest quality, so the highlights are superb. That's obviously the biggest attraction for me. But as a relative newbie to international club futbol, this show immerses me in teams that I have (essentially) never heard of and have virtually no access to. (Yes, that's right; I am an Arlington Comcast basic cable subscriber. I've got ComcastSportsNet for MLS and EPL matches, ESPN2 for MLS and national team matches, and the 3 Spanish language stations for MLS, Mexican League and North, central and South American national team matches) But Fenerbahçe? Shakhtar? CSKA Moskva? I love it.

In the comments, sound off if you love this show too and why.

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At 25 September, 2007 14:35, Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

First, good on ya for joining the DCenters crew. I'm guessing you'll do fine by the excellent tradition.

As for the Champions' League highlight show, I've never seen it, but already know I'll love it. Why? Because I don't have time to watch the full games, what with working, having a wife and kids, reading, writing, cooking, shopping, not to mention a(n extremely) basic hygiene routine. I'll watch it for the same reason I watch the Fox Soccer's beyond-low-budget Super Sunday Plus (or whatever the hell it's called). MLS is my league, the only one to which I sincerely pay attention. I don't have time to commit to the Champions League, I still like to know what's going on 'cause, well, there's the World Cup and so many of these players will be in it, right?

At 25 September, 2007 15:54, Blogger Nathan L. Redd said...

Hi, nice blog. I, like you, am an American fan of soccer, and my team is Fenerbahce. I know...it's weird. Anyway, I have a blog about Fenerbahce in English if you ever want to learn a little more about our club - www.fenerbahceworldwide.blogspot.com. I have another guy who writes for me as well, and we try to update our site every day or so.

I'll check back with your blog - keep up the good work! - Nathan

At 25 September, 2007 22:21, Blogger Unknown said...

i think - if you have a tivo/dvr then at least once in a while it may be worth it to record the champions league's games... ESPN2 show one game per game day. Sure - not always the best games, but at least one of the ones they show usually features a good team. even though i'm a ManUtd fan (in addition to DCUnited of course), i like watching Arsenal and Barca games (i hate the italian teams, sorry).

At 26 September, 2007 00:00, Blogger Kinney said...

Is there anyone that can get away for the actual games that works around Courthouse? I usually try to watch a game or two at Kitty O'Shea's when the Champions League plays.

At 26 September, 2007 08:33, Blogger Bob said...

Kinney - I can almost definitely meet up there on Oct 3. Who are you looking to watch?

At 26 September, 2007 11:13, Blogger Kinney said...

They have both the Setanta and ESPN2 games. I am 95% sure that the Liverpool game will be the one they have sound for. Should be a good game, hope to see you there.

At 26 September, 2007 13:16, Blogger Keving said...

Skip the Celtic matchday one highlights v Shakhter Donestk lads...it's stil painful....


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