ESPN Turns 40- “En Fuego!”

By Sterling Pingree- Sports Chowdah ESPN went on the air for the first time 40 years ago this past Saturday. Imagine your life without ESPN? I’ll admit, I watch way less than I used to, but then again watching it any less than every waking moment would accurately be considered less.

As a kid, mornings revolved around Sports Center. Before school I watched it one and a half times before ever stepping foot on a bus, even though it was the exact same show from 6am to 2pm. Summers? My childhood best friend Zach Charles and I would see the show no less than 3 times per morning, again it was the exact same highlights and catchphrases each time. I openly credit the show for my vocabulary (93rd percentile, equal to most high school English teachers when I entered 9th grade.)

That’s what made Sports Center so good, it was the personalities and their passion for sports. Here it is, almost 20 years since Sports Center was great and I can still remember the best pairings. The “Big Show” with Dan Patrick & Keith Olberman and Rich Eisen & Stu Scott were appointment television. (Or any edition featuring Chris Berman or Craig Kilborn.) The personalities were massive, but the catchphrases, oh the catchphrases.

“Cooler than the other side of the pillow”
“He must be butter cuz he’s on a roll”
“Master of his domain”
“Fall into the gap”
“The Whiff”
“En Fuego”

And on and on we go.

ESPN turned 40, which is good, I don’t think their 30’s treated them very well. (Ironically their greatest innovation in the last 10 years was called 30 for 30) Maybe their 4th decade will treat them better.

I liked ESPN better as a teenager, when they thought they knew it all because they didn’t know any better.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.