First of all, huge shout out to my man Rafa. The Spaniard Rafael Nadal dominated to win the US Open Sunday, his second major championship this year and 16th overall. The guy is a stud.
I wrote about Nadal earlier this year when he won his 10th French Open, because the statistics blew my mind. Now, he’s doing the same things at hardcourt tournaments. Man, between him and Roger Federer — props to Sloane Stephens, as well — I hope you’re appreciating the state of tennis right now. It’s absurd.
By the looks of it, I’ll have plenty of time to gush over professional tennis and the dominance of Nadal and Federer.
So instead, today, I’m going to give props to a sports personality that you probably didn’t even notice. Well, some of you might have, and some of you might have even been a tad inconsiderate in the situation.
Sergio Dipp works for ESPN. He spends most of his time reporting for ESPN Deportes, so, again, you might have missed him.
Monday, ESPN assigned Dipp to work the Monday Night Football matchup between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego — excuse me, Los Angeles — Chargers. It was opening week for the NFL and Monday Night Football and Dipp’s first big-time assignment for the network.
National Television. Big ratings, although they haven’t been released yet due to Hurricane Irma. But yeah, it’s a major assignment.
So what did Dipp do when the camera cut to him early in the contest? He fumbled.
Dipp’s standup was far from perfect. He knew what he wanted to say, he just had trouble saying it.
But Dipp’s first language isn’t English. He hadn’t previously been cast for any NFL sideline gigs.
Still, it didn’t take long for viewers, tweeters and basement-dwelling bloggers to throw poor Dipp into the fire. Variety called Dipp’s speech “weird.” Many compared it to the “Boom goes the dynamite” viral video from years ago.
Side note: The “Boom goes the dynamite” kid went to Ball State, my alma mater, so I’ll defend him to the grave. He, like Dipp, was also in a very rare, difficult situation at the time. Sure, it was funny, and we must not forget to laugh at ourselves to keep from taking this thing called life too seriously, but nobody’s perfect, no matter how many presidents think they are.
But I digress. I’m not here to talk about Ball State or any other sportscaster. I’m here to commend Dipp.
Have you ever been on camera? Most people I know turn their heads when a camera is pointed their way. Others become bumbling buffoons who awkwardly wave to their parents or shout profanities.
I put myself on camera once a week for a minute-and-a-half scripted Game of the Week video, and I end up with a good 15 minutes of outtakes as I struggle to remember how to talk like I went to elementary school.
Dipp went on national television, on the world’s most famous sports network, and talked in his second language. I have a minor in Spanish, and I sweat ordering food from Taco Johns.
Sports broadcasting is an extremely difficult, high-pressure job that often gets treated as if its easier than jogging around the block.
Sure, Dipp flubbed his debut. But he far from failed. He handled it with grace — poking fun at himself a bit on Twitter and clarifying what happened.
To me, he was genuine despite having a rough day at the office.
That’s as professional as it gets.