The first thing we did upon signing a deal with NBC Sports was to work out a way to acquire the original signage from “The George Michael Sports Machine.” Both Davo and I shared the same experience as Englishmen new to this country in the early ’90s: To cast eyes upon George Michael was to glimpse the mechanics of everything that made America the world’s sole superpower.
If you never glimpsed the late-Sunday night sports highlight show, it pulsated with promise from the very opening. A confident synth opening tingled as if commanding clips to ricochet across our television screens. Scenes of baseball, the NFL, rodeo, surfing and a Carl Lewis victory culminated in stock footage of a satellite zapping footage directly into the studio.
And what a studio. One in which a bronzed George Michael presided over proceedings like an American Julio Iglesias. All tan of skin and white of teeth, with slacks stay-pressed and hair greased back. A clipboard permanently in his grasp to reinforce the truth that this ship only had one captain.
The set had been designed to represent “The Future” on the budget of a 1950 sci-fi B-movie: giant reel-to-reel machines; three small monitors glued together; lots of buttons. George could not have been prouder of his surroundings. “Tonight, through the use of the Sports Machine …” he would proclaim, as the camera zoomed in to introduce the control board besides him. A kaleidoscope of colorful lights and buttons with untold power, which, thankfully, George harnessed only for good.
After a brief background on a clip, be it from a baseball game, an NFL playoff game, sky diving or dwarf wrestling, George would smack a single button — most often the one with his name on it — sending the reel tapes into a blur of motion. And when those reels sparked to life, he would declare, “Let’s go to Cleveland Municipal Stadium!” creating the sense he could propel the viewers from one geographical location to another with a wink at the camera and a push of the button.
Having grown up in 1980s England where restrictive television rights made sports highlights a rarity and where soccer was perceived too déclassé to make the evening news, this weekly half-hour was a revelation. Athletic pursuit was out in the open. Sports was entertainment. Elite human achievement could be improved with a coat of schmaltz.
Back then I had never watched the NHL, had no idea who Cal Ripken Jr. was and still did not yet fully understand Pat Riley’s hair, but the way George Michael narrated them completely sucked me in. The man was completely at ease, both selling the fiction and being in on the joke. He was the man I wanted to grow into.
Being a balding Englishman made that dream regrettably impossible, but when Men In Blazers signed with NBC, it was George we both thought about — and in fact emulated by building a “Sports Machine” of sorts in our studio from which our show would be controlled. The man was a master of concept, polish, packaging, illusion, and above all, narrative, to whom Davo and I still genuflect today.
Father’s Day Gifts 2022: Best ideas for the Sports Fan Dad from Golf to Electronics
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Father’s Day is just days away and as the thinking goes, the Dads of the family are often the hardest to shop for. But with the weather getting warmer, there’s countless opportunities to get outside, whether for sports or relaxation, and that means countless opportunities to find the perfect gift to make Father’s Day brighter for the Dads who love sports in any and all forms.
To help you in the gift selection process (even if you’ve left it up to the last minute!), the team at NBC Sports has sourced great options from across the internet for sporting Dads of all kinds. Whether the person you’re shopping for is up before dawn to get in a workout, more inclined to take in sports from the couch, or the consummate host planning summer’s best tailgate, there’s a great choice on this list across a variety of price ranges. Below are our ideas separated into categories:
This experience is a must for any dad looking to elevate their game. Per the PGA Tour Super Store site, fittings combine “game-changing technology and manufacturer-specific equipment with the personal attention of our certified fitters to deliver a fully immersive fitting session.” Golfers will leave the one-on-one session with specs for perfectly fitted custom clubs that will be built and shipped to you.
Help Dad perfect his golf skills right at home with this practice golf net. Just like the pop-up chipping net, this gift option is lightweight and portable and will allow Dad to hit golf balls right in the backyard.
This bag is lightweight with multiple pockets and perfect for the Dad trying to fit in a workout. It’s available in multiple colors, has waterproof storage for swim gear or sweaty apparel post-gym and doubles as the perfect bag for a quick weekend trip.
Whether it’s for early morning workouts or coaching the 8am Little League game on Saturday morning, a Yeti mug is a great accessory to keep coffee piping hot. Tumblers come in various shapes and sizes to indulge all varieties of pre-game caffeine habits.
The weather is getting warmer, making it the perfect time to give your Dad these comfortable and colorful shoes for the road. The shoes have a quick drying mesh material that will provide the ultimate in efficiency and comfort.
Invented in 1965 and combining elements of badminton, tennis and ping-pong, pickleball is the latest rec sport sensation sweeping the nation. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, it’s one of America’s fastest growing sports, picking up corporate sponsorships and avid enthusiasts nationwide. If Dad is a paddle sport enthusiast looking to indulge their competitive streak, this paddle set is the perfect way to get started.
Garmin is one of the most trusted names in GPS watches and enables you to monitor and track your fitness endeavors while streamlining your training. Whether it’s for the Dad training for their 10th marathon or just getting started in running and biking, a Garmin Forerunner is a great option to level-up your exercise.
This 28-piece set of BBQ accessories is the perfect gift for a Dad that loves to cook for everyone. This versatile set has everything you need: a spatula, fork, 2 barbecue mats, tongs, basting brush, grill brush, extra brush head, meat thermometer, 2 steak knives and forks, 2 shakers, 8 corn holders, 4 skewers and an aluminum case.
The Meater is the perfect kitchen gadget for a Dad who loves to cook meat-forward meals for a big group. It’s a smart thermometer that allows you to monitor the temperature of the meat you’re cooking up to 33 feet away from the grill, oven or rotisserie. Just download the free app and you’re all set!
This cooler has a capacity of 52 quarts and is the perfect option to keep the drinks cold and the tailgate guests happy. Available in multiple colors, it’s a heavy-duty option for all pregame festivity needs.
This cell phone armband case is perfect for any Dad who likes to go on walks or runs outside. His phone will stay secure and safe, and the case comes with an adjustable strap, key pocket and headphone cord holder.
Give your Dad the gift of Amazon Prime! Not only will he get access to Prime Video which will allow him to live stream his favorite sports, but he can enjoy the convenience of a fast and free delivery for online orders.
Make it feel as if your Dad is actually watching the game from the stadium of his favorite sports team. This TV Soundbar speaker will give your Dad a natural HiFi sound experience — perfect for NFL Sundays and also for family movie nights.
Have Dad keep track of his health and fitness, and get notifications from all of his favorite sports teams with the flick of a wrist. The Apple Watch is the perfect gift for the Dads who are constantly on the go.
The Theragun is the perfect gift for the fitness loving father figure in your life. It’s compact with long lasting battery life and best of all, you can connect it to your smartphone and customize its features.
Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat” is the true story of the American rowing team that competed at the 1936 Olympics and came away with a stunning gold. Made up of largely working-class athletes from the University of Washington, the U.S. team were some of the ultimate underdogs, making for an incredible story of human achievement.
Jackie Robinson is one of the most legendary and trailblazing figures in baseball, but his autobiography talks about so much more than his career on the field. From his time in the army to his family life to his involvement in American politics, “I Never Had It Made” gives the reader an in-depth look into one of the most famous athletes in baseball and in American history.
Get the baseball ban fan in your life a mug so unique that everyone will ask him about it! This mug was handcrafted from a wooden baseball bat barrel and you can choose a design for any MLB team. Choose Dad’s favorite team and he’ll be sure to love it!
With all the blockbuster NFL trades so far in 2022, your Dad’s favorite player might be starting the season for a different team. The safest bet? A custom jersey with his name – QB1 might have left, but his loyalty to the team isn’t going anywhere, for better or worse!
The Freestyle Skiing competition takes place at Genting Snow Park located just under 100 miles northwest of Beijing in the Zhangjiakou zone and at the Big Air Shougang in the Beijing Zone. The Big Air Shougang is the world’s first-ever permanent venue for big air and will serve as the home for future sports competitions, athlete training purposes, and cultural and civic events after the Beijing Winter Games.
How to stream the 2022 Winter Olympics on Peacock:
Peacock will be the streaming home of the Beijing Winter Games offering live stream coverage of every single event–that’s over 2,800 hours of Olympic action. In addition, to live stream coverage of every event, viewers will also be able to enjoy the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, NBC’s nightly primetime show, full replays of all competition available immediately upon conclusion, exclusive daily studio programming, medal ceremonies, extensive highlight clips, and more. Click here to sign up.