Write Again . . . The language of the realm

Published 6:25 pm Monday, July 6, 2015

Call it colorful. Call it a collection of cliches. Call it what it is: Sportspeak.

(Which is also a cliché.)

That is, it’s the language of the announcers, the scribes, and to some extent the players and coaches as well.

It’s almost an obligatory parroting by the aforementioned of current and new terminology used by, well, just about all of them. I’m not sure how such words, expressions, phrases come into being. We hear that English is a fluid language. The patois of sports is that and more.

While cliches, trite-isms, have always been the province of those who write about and those who talk about sports for a living, with the explosion of multi-media there just seems to be a lot more of it now. Of sportspeak.

Space won’t allow, nor would your interest level be sustained if I were to attempt to list every example I might think of to make a point. A point in which few would really be interested.

Let me cite just a few examples.

How about “wire to wire” or “down to the wire.” What they speak of eludes me. I can’t think of any wire in any sporting event.

Then, of course, there’s the ubiquitous “back to back”. Not “consecutive” or “two in a row.” If “back to back” is a metaphor, then it seems “front to back” would work better. Think about it.

A good basketball player can “dish” well. “Dish?” Why not simply use “pass?”

A good basketball player also can “run the floor” well. Which, of course, is easier than, say, “running the bleachers.” Where else would a player run than the floor? Then, some can “sky” or “elevate.” Is that anything like jumping?

Some basketball players are “pure” shooters. That must be a good thing. Being “pure”, that is.

Often the ball is “kicked out” to a backcourt player. “Kicked out?” By a player’s foot? And the sharpshooters don’t “make” a shot anymore. No, sir. They “knock it down.” “Kicking out” and “knocking down.” Sounds awfully rough. Somebody might get hurt.

Evidently a real plus in some sports is possessing “foot speed.” Being able to run fast is good also. Most run with their feet, do they not?

High school athletes aspire to qualify for the state tournament, meet, game, match, depending upon their particular sport. Yet, many refer to it now as going to “states.” States? It’s not plural. Just one state.

The (name of team) “plated” two runs in the bottom of the fifth. “Plated?” Why, that’s as good as “scoring” two runs. Would a single be “based?”

Popular now is “walkoff.” You know, he hit a last inning “walkoff” double. Who, exactly, “walked off?” The team in the field, I guess.

And, of course, teams rarely play teams, and schools rarely play schools, anymore. No, sir. Now they’re “programs.” As in Duke’s program won its fifth national basketball championship. Yea, program!

Spilling over into non-sports events as well is “kickoff.” A football game commences with a kickoff, but other events, sports or not, as well? It’s a bit overused, at the least. For some events perhaps a different word would be more appropriate.

Those who rely upon, love to use, sportspeak, probably feel it important to stay current with whatever latest term or expression comes along. It’s only natural. I suppose. Follow the trend, so to speak. In sportspeak.

Enough of this. No more such scribblings from me “on the day.”