Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 15
The Bleacher Bum Chronicles Vol. XXVIIA sampling of tired sports clichés that should be forced into retirement
BY THE BLEACHER BUM
At some point, every athlete is guilty of using one. Under the heat of the lights and cameras of big-time athletics, sometimes desperation strikes, and it’s the only way out. After all, you’ve got to keep up with the Joneses.
I’m not talking about performance-enhancing drugs; I’m talking about that bane of writers everywhere: the dreaded cliché. For some reason, sports are littered with them; rarely do post-game interviews with coaches or players fail to contain at least several infractions, a few examples of lazy, meaningless speech.
With so many sports-related clichés to choose from, it’s difficult to even narrow a worst-of list down to 50. A few, however, grate me more than others. Here are 10 that should immediately be sent back to the foul pit of mediocrity from whence they came:
10. “He came through at crunch time.”
What is it about the last few minutes of a close contest that changes the structure and texture of time itself? I mean, “crunch time” does sound delicious, but what does it taste like? Is it nutty or more like celery? Until someone invents “flavor time,” I’m not interested.
9. “We came to play tonight.”
No kidding? As opposed to the other nights when you came out to do something else entirely? If you weren’t anticipating playing, you probably shouldn’t be involved in athletics in the first place. Did you even know what you were signing up for? Perhaps you should try metallurgy next year, or some other hobby where playing isn’t a requirement.
8. “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”
Congratulations on your superior spelling ability; I’m sure it will serve you well in next year’s national spelling bee. But how do you account for I’s in other words, such as organization and unit? I suppose if you’re only out for yourself, it’s safe to join one of those.
7. “We brought our A-game.”
While I’s are sometimes hard to find in sports, A’s are apparently stockpiled in some secret location for use in certain critical situations. Where are the other letter-games? If they exist, why even have B- and C-games if they don’t result in favorable outcomes? So many questions, so few answers.
6. “They went out and executed.”
Since at least the times of Ancient Greece, sports and war have been inextricably linked. For me, this phrase has always conjured up images of dictators commending their men after battle on the quality of their murderous rampages. It also reeks of coaching egotism. Basically, you’re saying your team won because they played exactly the way you drew it up in the planning stages. I’m sure you mean it as a compliment.
5. “We gave it our all, but the other team wanted it more.”
First of all, how do you measure wants? I don’t recall them being quantifiable. Second, this cliché implies the mere act of desire is a more powerful force than physical effort. Now, I believe in positive thinking as much as the next guy, but to say your own players or teammates lost because they didn’t want to win badly enough is just plain insulting. Why not just say your team doesn’t really care that much about winning? I could respect that.
4. “I’d like to thank God for this win/God was on our side.”
If there is a God, shouldn’t He be spending His time on more important issues, like, I don’t know, feeding the poor or ending genocide? Apparently, God loves sports, and not only that, He hand-selects His favorites and gives them that extra push to victory only a deity can provide. What makes God prefer one team over another? All I know is more often than not He happens to like big-market teams with tons of money just a little bit more than He likes the little guys. Hey, He works in mysterious ways.
3. “Our backs are against the wall.”
First of all, what wall are you referring to? Is it the Great Wall of China? The Berlin Wall? A reference to Pink Floyd? And why is having your back against a wall such a bad thing? Seems to me it’s probably the safest position to be in, as you don’t have to worry about your opponent sneaking up behind you. Furthermore, someone should really do something about that wall if it just
2. “We’re just taking it one game at a time.”
Really? Of course you are. Here’s a newsflash: Everybody takes it one game at a time. Barring some rip in space-time, you can’t very well play the entire season at once, can you? I imagine if you could, nobody would ever want to pick up a sport again. How chaotic would that be? Picture 82 Picasso paintings overlaying each other and then throw a basketball in the mix.
1. “We gave it 110 percent.”
This cliché is the sports equivalent of Spinal Tap turning its amplifiers up to 11. Your concepts of basic math notwithstanding, why aren’t you playing to your alleged overcapacity every game? And if there’s an extra 10 percent lying around designated only for certain situations, why not take a 10 percent pay cut during the rest of the year? Your employers are getting ripped off! Also, is there a place where all the superfluous percents are sold? I suppose when the other team wants it more, this is where they shop.
So there you have it, the 10 most atrocious clichés to ever infect the sports interview. Honorable mentions go to “Our guys left everything out on the field,” “He’s got a great work ethic,” and “These guys just know how to win.” With any luck, and the help of a New York Yankee-loving God, these phrases will be hitting the showers in no time. Whoops.
But what do I know? I’m just a bum. And that’s my view from the bleachers.
The Bleacher Bum always steps it up and takes it to the next level. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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