Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Da Thom Abraham Show: Nashville Sports Talk Radio’s Answer to Phony Blue-Collar Fandom
Thom Abraham’s been on 106.7, the local ESPN outlet, since the summer of 2007. He has a somewhat sketchy resume as a small-market radio host and also as a high school coach, so the Nashville gig is probably a big deal for him. His career has stretched in its previous, various incarnations from upstate New York to Florida and Alabama, which makes you wonder why he sounds like one of the SuperFans from the old Saturday Night Live sketch. (“Daaaa...BEARS!”)
For the uninitiated, here’s a short glossary of some key SuperFan terms, as used by Abraham, with phonetic pronunciation and translation:
The Glossary of Abraham
“dare”—there, their, they’re
In order to fully understand SuperFan-speak, you need to see it in action. Here are some examples of how Thom Abraham might use it in his “colorful” radio broadcasts. (Tip: For full effect, pronounce the following really loud and fast):
“I’m tellin’ ya, doze Red Wings are gonna come into da Sommet Center and dare gonna run doze Preds ragged wit-out mercy, and den dare gonna beat dem down in da third period wit dare front line.”
“Den dare’s da case of LenDale White. Da guy’s kinda a bonehead, wit-out any sense of da impact of stomping on dat Terrible Towel.”
“I went down dere wit my good buddy Jeff Diamond. I went dare wit da family and day all had a great time, wit-out any hassles.”
“Dare’s no way da Titans can beat dare opponents. Dare lost wit-out a passing game. Dare gonna lose.”
“Let takes da Preds. Day have no chance to win da division. Day kinda suck right now.”
“Dis is not da first time dat da Preds have tanked in da third period.”
“Dat’s probably da last time dat I’m gonna see Kerry Collins move da team wit-out a running game.”
“Da Titans haven’t been to da Super Bowl since our own Jeff Diamond was in da front office.”
Now, I lived in Chicago for 20 years, and if anyone knows what a Windy City Northwest Side sports-nut Polack sounds like, it’s me. That’s why the SNL skit was so successful: In essence, it was absolutely right on. So one can only conclude, without firm biographical evidence otherwise, that Abraham’s a complete put-on with this stuff.
I recall possibly hearing Abraham once discuss Cleveland as a point of origin, and his bio mentions that he passed “on an opportunity to play football at Ashland College in Ohio.” (Whatever dat means.) So I dunno. Do Clevelanders talk like the SuperFans? More importantly, do guys who’ve spent the bulk of their professional life in upstate New York, Florida and Alabama sound like the SuperFans?
I don’t think so. Which is why one can only conclude that Abraham’s rap is absolute phony-baloney, probably designed to inject a breath of fresh air onto our drawly Mid-South sports airwaves.
But if you want to hear Abraham really let loose in this mode, listen to him when he’s shilling for the local restaurants that sponsor his gig. For example:
“Ya gotta get down dare to Joe’s Sport’s Bar, down dare in Cool Springs. Yer gonna love it. Day got da chicken and da ribs, day got da pork and da beef, day got da burgers and da subs, and day even got a deep-dish pizza dat’ll drive you wild! Plus day got da sides ta go wit it, like da cheese sticks and da French fries and da onion rings, and dat’s not all: Day got 18 kinds a beer dat you can wash it all down wit. Dat’s my favorite place ta watch sports and get myself a great meal ta boot.”
Or, with that menu, as the SuperFan played by the late Chris Farley would say, “I tink I’m ’avin’ a ’eart attack!”
Put-on? Or actual Rust Belt blue-collar guy who digs sports? We'll let you decide. But listen closely when Abraham shills for other, slightly more genteel products. Your more-articulate slip is showing, dude. And dat's all I'm gonna say about dat.