Many have been enjoying ESPN lead soccer announcer Ian Darke’s sesquipedalian brand of commentary for years, so why restrict it to just soccer? We’ve seen Darke call a date, and ESPN even reportedly asked him to consider trying college football (he declined) at one point (can we call that a reverse Gus Johnson?), so that sets the stage for this great tongue-in-cheek “audition” he did for ESPN’s Wimbledon coverage in an ad promoting both this summer’s Euro 2016 (which he will be calling) and Wimbledon: There are some fantastic lines in there from Darke, particularly when it comes to the ballboy: “A young boy in short pants seems to have jumped the gates, stolen the ball away and is now sprinting across the court! It’s absolute bedlam!” Sadly, though, judging by his previous comments when asked about college football, though, we won’t get to see Darke call Wimbledon any time soon:
“The idea was floated in my general direction but it lasted no further than 15 seconds because I said, ‘Look, I would be found out,’” Darke said. “I’m a soccer announcer. And that’s what I am…I think you have to know your limitations. It is very difficult if it’s not a sport you have lived with and is in your soul for the whole of your life, to pick it up and sound authentic. Because you are broadcasting to a new audience who know so much about it.”
So, viewers won’t get any meditations on the umpire “high upon her throne, like a monarch overseeing her kingdom, her grassy kingdom, where moats are lines of white chalk and we’re all but serfs to her royal highness, the line judge.” Too bad.