We stumbled upon this blog entry from Rob Warner on Giant's website, and since so many Vital readers are race fans, we thought it would be appropriate to share it here too. Rob, you HAVE come a long way since the good old Freecaster days, and whilst we miss the antics every now and then, we still thoroughly enjoy your World Cup work today. Bring on 2015!

Warner and Peaty, back in 2012 - photo Sven Martin.

December 2014, by Rob Warner

The month started for me with a trip to Austria and Red Bull for a meeting. Its always nice going to HQ in Salzburg, It’s the birthplace of the famous opera singer Mozart and wherever you look there seems to be Wiener Schnitzel, Austria’s answer to our Fish and Chips. It's close, but no real substitute to be fair.

After getting up at 4am, running a half marathon through Dusseldorf airport to make my connection I must admit I was expecting a hero’s welcome, but of course it wasn’t to be, as soon as I got expectantly into the ‘board’ room the Boss man, who looks a lot like Lord Sugar, said that we really had to be done in 45 minutes as he had a dentist’s appointment that he could not miss. Oh well not to worry I thought, as long as the finger doesn’t come my way. It was a good meeting actually mainly because I still have a job next year. I’m really looking forward to it.

I guess I’ve come a long way since the ‘Freecaster’ drunk out of my mind screaming days. I had to if I wanted to work for Red Bull. The first time I went to Salzburg was prior to the inaugural 2012 season when Red Bull took over the rights from Freecaster. It was to meet the very same boss I met this time, he’s one of Austria’s most famous commentators in his own right, and is ultimately my boss when I’m working for Red Bull. First thing he asked me back then was if I’d, “ever been trained in commentating?” “No, nothing, it's all me” I boastfully replied.

At the time I really thought my commentary was the best thing ever if I’m honest. I was always pretty wasted, there was always about half a dozen people in the booth partying, I really didn’t care what I said because no one ever pulled me up on anything and the hard core DH audience did love it. Albeit, mostly for the wrong reasons. But it was a good, if unsustainable time.

I now know that it was miles from commentary, miles off. I’m really lucky to have a job. I think it’s solely because Red Bull wouldn’t have wanted to lose the core audience. The first year with them was pretty tough, I got yelled at constantly through my earpiece for shouting, constantly being told not to get so excited. It used to make me so angry, how dare they I thought!

My onsite boss would even come and search the booth for beer just before we started like I was some sort of alcoholic! One time he found one and said, ”You can’t do it without huh?” Not unless you want me develop a staggering stutter I can’t I thought. One was always good to calm the nerves.

Last year carried on in much the same way, I’d get told off plenty but only really for getting to loud and shouting. But I listened and slowly things are coming round to what you could call decent commentary. I hope. Even the beers are gone. The emergency backup for when things started going wrong.

I’m not sure how people become commentators but I don’t think many would have the opportunity to learn like I did, live on air hidden behind a mask of booze. Trouble is I really picked up some bad habits along the way.

I was still pretty arrogant at the start of this year when Red Bull asked me to go and see a commentary coach, again I thought how dare they, I don’t need that. The chap I see is one of the UK’s leading TV football commentators, he was on loads through this year’s World Cup.

I wont bore you with details but to say I’ve had my mind blown apart isn’t an over statement. It’s by far the most interesting hours of tuition I’ve ever had in my life (probably only hours of tuition to be fair!). You do need training to be a commentator, there are real rules that have to be obeyed and I’m slowly having my eyes opened to them. A lot of the stuff is so simple it leaves me feeling like an idiot. But there’s so much going on in a live commentary I can’t ever remember the top three positions straight after a race.

It actually bruises my ego for days after a session but it’s so worth it and as a result I’m getting a lot more offers of work in. I’m actually off to Poland this weekend to commentate on the opening round of the FIM Super Enduro World Championship for Red Bull TV, something I’m well pumped about.

Work's not that bad, it’s actually good fun this having a career for the first time.

-Rob

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