Friday, March 26, 2010

Gushing Over Gus

Anyone who watched the KSU-Xavier thriller last night went to bed knowing they saw the best game of what’s been the best NCAA tournament in years.  They know as far as sports go, last night was as good as it gets.  Why?  Well, it went to double overtime, but lots of games go to double overtime.  It was a classic duel between two great players, but lots of games are classic duels between two great players.  It had clutch plays and buzzer beaters, but lots of games have clutch plays and buzzer beaters. Don’t get me wrong: these things made the game great.

But what made it the best was Gus Johnson.

I never paid much attention to who was calling a game until recently, and I think it’s mostly because none of them ever stood out to me.  And I mean that as a compliment.  Announcers, generally, should be like umpires, shot-clock operators, and long-snappers: They’re best when you don’t notice them.

But Gus is a different story.  Gus doesn’t call a game, he lives it.  He’s the announcing equivalent of Allen Iverson – he leaves everything he has on the floor.  I know I haven’t been around that long, but I’m pretty certain no other announcer today, or ever, comes close to matching his energy. 

And it’s totally genuine!  When we listen to Gus and hear him go bonkers, we don’t think he’s doing it to steal the show from the players, we think he’s doing it because he loves what he’s seeing!  He really thinks the action is that remarkable.  His passion seems to know no end.  A third-grade soccer game could get him excited.

Watch someone watch a Gus Johnson game.  Whether their team’s winning or losing, I guarantee you they're smiling.  Gus is so lovable and infectious, you forget who you’re rooting for.  You just don’t want the game to end.

The number one trending name on Twitter last night wasn’t Crawford or Pullen, it was Johnson.  All of the sudden, people are interested in announcers.  “Who’s gonna call the Final Four?” they want to know.  “Is it Gus?”  “If not, WHY?”

Good question.  CBS hasn’t announced the lineup yet, but it’d be a shame if it wasn’t Gus.  I mean, it’s not like we wouldn’t watch, of course.  It’s the Final Four.  The Pinnacle.  The Last Dance.  The End of the Road.  Nothing beats the Final Four.

Except the Final Four with Gus Johnson.