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I Love You, World Cup Announcer Guy

You know exactly who I’m taking about – but in case you need to refresh your memory, he’s the voice famous for doing this:

Of course, his name is not World Cup Announcer Guy.  That’s just an affectionate nickname I use in my own head.  His name is Andrés Cantor, and he is the iconic Telemundo sportscaster whose exuberant commentary energizes the Spanish-language broadcasts of World Cup soccer…uh…oops…ahem, excuse me, rest of the world…fútbol.

I’m not even a huge sports fan, and even less of a fútbol aficionado, yet I make it a point to tune in to World Cup games, and I intentionally watch on Telemundo.  You’d better believe I’m waiting for a score so I can hear Cantor go berserk and do his signature yell.  Realizing that it’s possible to go 45, 65 or even up to 90 minutes before the ball sails into that net, I wait anyway.  Gotta hear it.

And as I wait, I’ve come to appreciate something else:  Cantor’s call of the game action.  Ironically, I can’t even understand about 75 percent of what he’s saying, despite having taken seven years of Spanish in middle school, high school and a Spanish literature course in college.  (My Spanish skills have badly atrophied after decades of lack of use.)  No matter.  I listen anyway. Why? Simple. Because it’s…So. Damn. Fun.

With Cantor behind the mic, it couldn’t possibly be anything else but fun.  From the moment he starts talking, I can’t help but bust out in a big smile.  He is so obviously thrilled and out of his mind psyched to be there he can hardly contain himself.  His unapologetic, almost over-the-top enthusiasm is infectious. This man has done his homework; he knows the name of every player on each team, and he’s well informed on lots of stuff which he’ll explain to me throughout the match, even though I won’t be able to comprehend most of it. He’s about to take me on a frenzied, nail-biting, draining, nerve-wracking ride, and I’m totally okay with that.

One of Cantor’s great talents is his ability to let you know exactly what’s going on, even if you can’t translate the Spanish. That’s because he speaks the universal language of pure emotion. You’ll pick up more than you think you can, simply by following his assortment of spontaneous excited outbursts as he reacts to every move:





His voice rises and falls in sync with the ebbs and flows of the action.  If a team suddenly advances downfield and threatens to descend upon the goaltender, Cantor’s cadence likewise suddenly speeds up, his tone frantic with anticipation.  This will end in one of only two ways:  with his 20-second trademark triumphant bellow, or with a dejected release, signaling the ball missed its mark.

I’ve spent my whole life following with rapt interest many of the great broadcasters of our time, both as a keen observer of the broadcast media business and as a fan. And again, although I’m not a rabid sports buff, I’ve always been fascinated with sports broadcasters.  I love their passion and the way they hone their craft to tell us stories.

To me, no sportscaster embodies such an elevated sense of unbridled passion and exultation more than Cantor.  He’s the rare adult who has successfully managed to hang on to his innocent, joyful inner child, and he lets him out to play every time he flips on the microphone.

He has you convinced you’re viewing the single most important event in the world.  It doesn’t even matter if it’s not your country’s team.  He’s got you hooked, riveted, completely emotionally invested. Hordes of fans in the stadium are deliriously chanting and singing in unison, and he’s right there, channeling their energy and leading them and us all into a state of fútbol euphoria.  When it’s all over, we’re totally spent, exhausted.  And he is too.  He has poured his entire being into the broadcast, but it’s been worth it.  He has guided us through yet another epic contest, and it feels like time well spent.

That’s something only a master storyteller can do.

Speaking for myself, it’s easy to look around and feel beaten down and cynical about the state of the world – war, inflation, political polarization, the vestiges of the tail end of a global pandemic.  That’s why it’s entirely understandable if we deeply crave some sort of healthy escapism in our lives. For many, sports fill that void, and the World Cup serves as the perfect large-scale collective diversion.  We so need that more than ever.

And World Cup Announcer Guy is our master of ceremonies in that escape.

Thank you, Mr. Cantor.