First female commentator in World Cup 2018, Vicki Sparks cops abuse for having a ‘high pitched’ voice.
Curiosity got the better on me, and I had to tune in and listen to Vicki Sparks’ commentary in Portugal Vs Morocco. And lo and behold, it was a normal voice. It was pitched adequately; her inflections and intonation were appropriate. In fact, she maintained a low pitch, appropriate for the game, and sounded ‘on par’ with her male commentator. Her rate of speech was adequate. Such a proud moment for a female to FINALLY be a commentator for a Live World Cup Match.
Why then, the male uproar against her voice? The main criticism came from Jason Cundy, former Chelsea footballer. I tuned in and listened to his voice, which was much higher than an average male’s pitch. Ironical that he was whinging about Vicki’s ‘high pitched’ voice.
And over here in Australia, SBS World Cup Host Lucy Zelic invoked online abuse, for ‘over pronouncing’ footballers’ names correctly. Meaning, she pronounced them the way they need to be said. Meaning, she made the effort to learn how to say someone’s name the way it should be said. Meaning, she did her homework and was respectful to everyone’s culture.
Why then, the furore over these ladies in the sports commentary world? Apart from sexism, which unfortunately still exists currently, this also illustrates how one’s voice influences people’s perception of you.
Your voice is your reflection, your mirror. It reflects your physiological, emotional, mental and physical state of being. Your speech and pronunciation reflect your cultural background.
All together, they make up your verbal communication, the way you express your ideas and thoughts. Unfortunately, the sports world is male dominated, and these females are definitely out there, changing the playing field, and educating the audience, and changing perceptions.
If you are taking a moment to reflect on your speech and voice, regardless of your gender, here are some useful tips you can use to sound pitch perfect.
1) Do some vocal warm ups, ranging low to high pitch , with the sound, “ng”
2) Break up words if they are too long ( like unfamiliar names!)
3) Exhale when you are speaking. Most people speak on inhalation or, hold their breath when talking, hence increasing their rate of speech, as well as their pitch. Click here for more breathing exercises.