Crashing bore

Fuyu Yuki says this one’s common in the UK:

How about that irritating sporting phrase “crashed out” ? It is used when a person or team loses to another and is eliminated from a contest. It is also inappropriately used. Regardless of if the “crashed out” party narrowly lost or was totally beaten, the newscasters will still refer to them as having “crashed out”.

Sport some originality, OK?

David Tom’s wish:

I guess sports broadcasters have a tough time being original from game to game, and have simply given up! I do wish, however, that they would have “the presence of mind“– like the athletes they are attempting to describe — to think of something else to say whenever some ball-bouncer or puck-slapper acts calmly in a “pressure situation.” “Pressure” is not an adjective!

And no more headlines from the sports section of the local newspaper (or any other), like “San Jose Sharks Take Bite Out of Avalanche, 5-1″ or conversely, “Avalanche Bury Sharks, 5-1.” While not exactly clichÈs, these cute plays-on-words are scowl-inducing, and are of course to be found in all sections of all papers (e.g. “Violinist Plays Second Fiddle to Gifted Son”…get it, get it? I don’t).

Naming names

From Robin D. Best, news editor of the Henderson Daily News in Henderson, Texas:

There has been a recent evolution in sports news coverage and sports talk
show hosts.

In the last year, I have heard sports anchors begin giving commentary and
using single player’s names as if it represented an entire group or

“What the Dallas Cowboys are hoping to pick up is another Troy Aikman and maybe an Emmit Smith or at least a Barry Sanders…”


Thanks for letting me air this out…

Sporting chances

Dear Tom:
Something for your “I hate cliches” list. When I was in college, a bunch of folks used to get together to watch old reruns of the Bob Newhart Show (the one where he’s a shrink) and play a drinking game called, “Hi, Bob.” Any time someone said “Bob” on the show meant one of the TV watchers had to take a drink. If someone
said “Hi, Bob,” it was two drinks.Anyway, there is an ESPN sportscaster — Stuart Scott — who has inspired a new generation of the “Hi, Bob” drinking game. For want of a better title, let’s call the game “Stuart Scott Sucks.” Scott has developed a whole series of pet phrases, then proceded to overuse them in such a way they’ve become more old and tired than most cliches. While airing the day’s sports highlights, Scott might note that someone “must be better because he’s on a roll,” or “is as cool as the other side of the pillow.”

He’s got dozens of these things, including one where he drops into the voice of a revival preacher and says “The Lord says you’ve got to rise up,” whenever a team starts a rally. I recently had some contact with a couple of college campuses and found out there are frats using Stuart Scott’s cliches for a drinking game similar to “Hi, Bob.” When this happens, I believe it’s time to find some new pet phrases.

About the only thing I’ve heard that compares to this, is the bar that played Seinfeld Bingo for the final Seinfeld episode. The bar put together a list of 15 recurring characters (Soup Nazi), 15 pet phrases (New-man), 15 gestures (Kramer coming in a door), 15 guest characters (Keith Hernandez) and 15 episodes (masters of their domains) and gave them all Bingo numbers. They passed out Bingo cards and gave prizes to the players who filled their Bingo cards first as the references appeared in the show’s final episode.

Take care,
Charles Bingham
Juneau Empire sports editor

P.S., I don’t know if you can find it, but in 1988 or 89, USA Today ran a story about a left-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies named Don Carman. This guy wrote up a list of about 50 sports cliches — “We’re just taking it one game at a time,” “There’s no ‘I’ in team,” etc. — and gave them all numbers. He posted the list above his locker with a note reading, “You saw the game, pick which ones you need.” When some poor scribe caught up to Carman for an interview, he’d answer the writer’s questions with numbers from his list. At least he had fun with it. I believe this took place before the famous scene in Bull Durham where Crash Davis is teaching Nuke Laloosh his cliches.

Off the grid

Tom Lemanski of Kildeer, IL, shares these gridiron groaners:

Your page inspired me to offer some football terminology. I like football

  • The one-foot line: no such thing. One-inch line
    is also non-existent.
  • Gutsy: Bold? Couragous? Surprising? Strategic? Innovative?
    Heroic? Anything! For a while, some sportscasters went with internal
    fortitude. Now Fox has brought us back to gutsy.
  • Adding “a” before every name reference: … a QB like a Brett Favre or a Peyton Manning. Further proof that less is more
  • When they measure for a first down by running the sticks and chain
    onto the field, how do they measure in the first place? They eyeball
    Then make a big deal of taking a closer look when they think
    it matters.
  • There should be fines or something. Perhaps fines would support a language abuse police force?

    They feel terrible, OK?

    R. G. Harris of Detroit,
    Michigan, read the proceedings below and passed the following along:

    I agree especially with the criticism of broadcast journalists
    and would add that they should also be forever forbidden from asking
    inane questions of crime or disaster victims. Does anyone really doubt
    how one feels when they have seen their home destroyed (totally destroyed
    to the reporters) by fire, flood, tornado, etc. Or need they ask how
    the family of a murder victim feels?Many other words or phrases should be eliminated. Among them:

  • A real team player;” “Ready to hit the ground running;”
    a “self-starter;” and “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team‘.”
  • We should also stop “doing lunch” and “taking meetings.”
  • As a retired police supervisor, I also have strong negative feelings
    about many cases of “cop-speak.” I once heard an arresting
    officer testify as follows:

    “I observed a male subject exit a red colored vehicle and
    proceed on foot in a westerly direction.”

    Wouldn’t it be easier to see a man get out of a red car and walk
    west? A “red-colored” as opposed to a red-flavored or red-shaped?
    A “westerly direction as opposed to a westerly size?

  • Do we ever sound so stupid as when we try to sound smart?

    Notes from an English teacher

    Anyone who says “the wave of the future” is clearly “mired
    in the past,” says retired English professor Helen H. Gordon, who
    defines a composition teacher as one who, for the love of good writing,
    reads more bad writing than she’d ever have to read in any other occupation.
    The Professor submits these choice annoyances:

  • “the bottom line”
  • “blow-by-blow description”
  • “last but not least”
  • “unsung hero”
  • “couldn’t care less” (or erroneously, “could care
  • “man’s best friend”
  • “sacred cow”
  • “whose ox is being gored”
  • “man (or woman) who needs no introduction”
  • Rearing their ugly heads

    From Calvin Beam:

  • far from” The game was far from over (why not
  • a pair of” A pair of singles (usually “two”)
  • straight” instead of consecutive (think of the
    potential for confusion in “Joe Montana was the third straight
    San Francisco player to win the award.”)
  • reared” instead of raised (“Miss America
    Heather Whitestone was well-reared.”)
  • His line in the sand

    Doug Allaire offers these two candidates, mostly heard on

  • “So-and-so has drawn a line in the sand.…” I
    think this one started showing up more after George Bush actually
    said it before the Gulf War. Now I can just about hear someone on
    a Sunday morning talkfest saying, “The Republicans have drawn
    a line in the sand on this issue.” It always reminds me of drawing
    lines in the sand at the beach and watching the rising tide wash them
    away. Maybe the phrase isn’t as meaningless as I thought, after all.
  • Using individuals as if they were groups: “The Yankees have
    had a lot of strong players, your Babe Ruths, your Joe DiMaggios, your Mickey Mantles….”
  • Perfect perfection

    From Greg Newell:

    My pet peeve as a sports writer/editor is the dreaded reference
    to a PERFECT 18-0 record or a PERFECT 9-0 or perfect any record that includes only wins. There is no such thing as an IMPERFECT 18-0,
    is there?