If you’re like me and you sometimes wonder when you watch ESPN how someone like, say, Mark May has a job, then The New Yorker’s got a story for you.
Reeves Wiedeman’s article, which is worth the five minutes if you have them to kill, is about ESPN’s hiring of former athletes, giving readers a behind-the-scenes peek at how the network trains former athletes to be on-air talent. Using Jerome Bettis, Ray Lewis and Jeff Saturday as examples, it highlights the arsenal of speech coaches employed by ESPN’s talent department to give the aforementioned three some sort of coherence.
It also includes #LOL-worthy passages like this:
[Vocal coach Arthur] Joseph met Lewis at his home, and put him through a series of exercises that he calls “vocal yoga.” Football fans can thus thank Joseph for the following images: Ray Lewis extending his arm and staring into the middle distance, to “trace the arc of sound”; Ray Lewis loosening up his jaw with a “yawn-sigh”; Ray Lewis pulling on his tongue with two fingers and saying the word “hat.”
And that, my friends, is how your ESPN talent sausage gets made. Not that we wouldn’t mind a little “Sports Sesh” every once in a while.