They do a job I could not. They share this trait with, among others, astrophysicists, rocket designers and, of course, sports journalists.
The commentator's ability to trace passages of play is beyond me. For me, every SPFL goal requires the services of some sort of sporting CSI. My befuddlement has to be solved by asking commentators or reporters what has happened. Thus they don white clothing, screen off the area and trace the tracks of the pacy winger, the arc of the spherical object and the impact it causes when colliding with the back of the net. I scribble this down feverishly, as I have forgotten to put quinine into my Bovril.
Loading article content
Commentators are also hampered in modern times by the practice of putting numbers on the back of strips that are so gaudy they could have been designed by Jackson Pollock after a good night out. Yet they largely seem to identify the players with ease while I require the help of dental records.
No, I know there will be those of you who will say they talk rubbish. But, as you are now reading rubbish, you are hardly the best judges. I prefer to say their flights of fancy can sometimes be off course.
This all, though, adds to the gaiety of the nation and their words and deeds have never proved fatal, though I have a mate who invites a coronary when considering the excesses of some television wordsmiths. His symptoms prove most worrisome when he hears the word "literally", as in a mile offside; comments that show no knowledge of the rules of the game; and discussion extolling the virtues of players who are so bog standard they smell of peat.
I am just happy they are telling me who is passing to whom. It is why I am less than agitated by the madness of some of the Winter Olympics. This reached its apogee (a small spot on the summit just beyond the chair lift) when Jenny Jones won the bronze medal in the snowboarding slopestyle final in Sochi. (Yeah, I agree. For a blue riband event this takes the biscuit). The BBC apologised after more than 300 viewers complained about the commentary.
Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood were labelled "immature idiots" for whooping as Jones finished third. Aimee Fuller, a friend of Jones and fellow snowboarder, appeared to celebrate when the Austrian competitor Anna Glasser fell, thus ensuring the Brit won a medal. At one point Fuller yelled: "Go on, the Jones!"
I can see why this might upset some, but not me. The last time I expected incisive, analytical non-biased comment from a snowboarder was at the precise moment my brother was signing the papers to have me sectioned. Again.
The gung-ho attitude thus does not bother me. I have been inured by years of exposure in the first game of the World Cup to the words Jules, 1966, World, Rimet, Cup and England. I meditate on the breath and console myself with the beauty of the action.
Partisanship is a stranger to me at work at the coalface of the modern stadium. There is a belief that the press box erupts in cheers in reaction to goals from their favourites. Nothing could be further from the truth. Except my match reports, obviously.
A goal means work. A late goal means a surge of stress that would fell a workaholic ox. The mood of the press box is not influenced by who scored and what it means to their favourites. It is dictated by when the goal is scored and what it means to the result.
A goal in the 90th minute renders useless a carefully considered report on how both teams could not score if they were on a night out with Charlie Sheen. There are no roars of joy from journalists on those nights. Rather there are muttered curses, the groans of the anguished and a furious tapping that is reminiscent of a thousand woodpeckers on speed.
There is an exception to this rule. It occurs on those nights in Scotland that make the Winter Olympics seem tropical. It is restricted exclusively to cup matches when both teams are labouring towards extra time. Then someone - anyone - scores.
I whoop with the enthusiasm of a Comanche brave. I have beaten hypothermia for another night. Now on to that snowboard for the trip home.