4.29.2008

Sports Sayings That Have To Go (Installment 1)

I love sports. I watch sports all the time. I spend way too much of my time with sports (or so my wife tells me). That being said, there are a number of sports-isms, if you will, that make me want to launch the remote control through the TV. For the record, I could not afford (literally) such an expression of my ire. Anyway, I am going to compile a list with these sports-isms, including a blurb about each. Though there may be some overlap, I promise I am not stealing any of this from Bill Simmons.



"We (they) hit them (us) in the mouth." This expression refers to one team being tougher and more physical than the other team. You will almost always hear this from 1 of 2 possible sources. 1) Football players in a post-game press conference, describing why his team either won or lost. 2) Keyboard warriors on football message boards, describing what it will take to win in a given week. (See: Steelers/Ravens fans, whose teams play ugly fucking football, but use illegal tactics to appear tough and win anyway.)

OK, we get it. Football teams have to be tough to win. But why the mouth? Why not the nose? Or the ear? Why not "kick in the teeth"? Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks (yes, the NBA Atlanta Hawks) just used that in a post-game press conference to describe why Boston was beating Atlanta early in Game 4. So now this saying has spread to basketball?? If it's being tougher and physical-er (wait, that doesn't sound right... oh well) than your opponent, can't we all agree to just use plain English instead of some ridiculous metaphor? And if you have ever typed that on a message board, you're a douchebag. Because you're probably a Steelers fan.

Pace. I've watched golf for many years. I love having lazy Saturdays or Sundays where I can flip back and forth between golf and some other sporting event. There's something soothing about the soft voices of the announcers, the music going to and coming from commercials, and the green grass everywhere. But when I hear an announcer or golfer say the word "pace," I almost lose it. For years, people used the appropriate word: "speed." Then, I think some time between the end of the season in '02 and the start of the season in '03, they (the PGA Skulls, of course) had an underground meeting and decided that no one associated with professional golf can ever use the word "speed" to describe how fast a ball is traveling toward the cup. Just like that, everyone and their grandmas started saying, "That putt has good pace!" or "He didn't put enough pace on it!" It's not pace... it's fucking SPEED! How fast did the ball go? Did he hit it hard enough? Those are the important questions. But "pace"??? I know it means essentially the same thing as "speed," but it's ridiculous that everyone says "pace" now, when they used the more accurate and appropriate word forever before that fateful day in the dungeoned halls below Augusta. Happy Gilmore would never say "pace." It's phony. I hate phony.

Meteoric rise. Tracing the etymology of this term, I found that it dates all the way back to 2003, when Brian Goldberg thought he was being clever in a UFC broadcast. Even if you don't follow the UFC, you may recognize Goldberg from his extensive work on FSN announcing beach volleyball. Because I love the UFC, and I have a crush on Kerri Walsh (pictured below), I am very familiar with his work.

Anymore, the phrase is used to describe musicians, movie and tv stars, even business big wigs. Some people may tell you that the phrase was used before Goldberg, but they are dirty liars. So listen to me, not them. Anyway, the phrase sucks because 1) Goldberg has no other way to describe a fighter's early success in the UFC; and 2) we don't see meteors unless they FALL into our atmosphere. That's right, boys and girls. Sometimes you hear the phrase "meteor shower." What about that makes you picture something rising? Nothing. Meteors don't rise. End of story. Sweet, sweet Goldberg... I beg of you... please do not use this phrase ever again!

More entries later.

~Puddin'

9 comments:

PreView said...

And didn't you, Puddin', coin the term asteroidal fall, in response to Goldberg's meteoric rise? Which you would be completely justified by doing, obviously.

And even though you know, I just wanted to remind you that I completely support your following women's volleyball. I love our girls.
- PreView

GiantAsianMan said...

Because I'm one of the few readers of this blog- counterpoint, for the sake of argument:

"We (they) hit them (us) in the mouth." Can't justify this one. Just one in a long line of cliched metaphors that need to be purged from sports. Hate it.

"Pace." I think pace is a legit term, specifically in golf (and for the record, I've always recalled golf announcers using pace when describing putts, and not just since 2003). While at its core it has the same meaning as speed, pace has a different connotation. Pace implies a controlled, intentional movement. Its relative speed; there are no units to pace. Speed, on the other hand, implies a measured value with specific units, like miles per hour or feet per second. No one cares exactly how fast a putt is traveling (ie- its speed); its irrelevant in golf. What matters is the relative speed of the ball applied by the golfer to the conditions of the putt (distance, break, etc.), which is pace.

"Meteoric Rise." I can't speak to whether Goldberg "invented" the term (although I'd wager that he didn't), and I don't really care. The important point here is that meteors don't rise or fall. Meteors don't "fall" through our atmosphere during a meteor shower in the sense that they are moving in a downward direction (as implied by Puddin'). They are just passing through our atmosphere. Relative to our perspective, they aren't rising or falling. In this case, "meteoric" is used in reference to the speed at which a meteor moves, which is, in scientific terms, really fucking fast (and no, asshole, it wouldn't be pace).

That was a roundabout way to say "You're wrong" but it was totally worth it. !-) On to PV's Lost post.

Puddin' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Puddin' said...

Jeezus, GAM... I didn't do any actual research. Eff you and your science.

And still, pace implies rhythm... which a golfer may have, but a golf ball does not. Once that ball leaves the blade, it is measured by speed and trajectory. Sure it is affected by the slope of the green and the length of the grass, but there is no rhythm in the ball once it is travelling. "Pace," while not totally incorrect, is still a slight misnomer. And maybe the term was used prior to 2003, but it wasn't used as rampantly.

And even if your assessment of meteors is correct, which it may be (again, I didn't research any of this), the term "meteoric" means having meteor-like qualities, or, of a meteor. So the term still patently implies that meteors rise, which you yourself admitted that they do not. While the secondary implication of speed is obvious, the key characteristic of the phrase is the rise itself. So the phrase still sucks ass, even under your analysis.

GiantAsianMan said...

Research? What research? I just know this shit, man. !-)

I might be willing to concede the point on pace. I still think its an applicable term for use in golf; perhaps it just needs to be used more judiciously.

As for meteors... I think you're looking at the phrase backwards. "Rise" isn't modifying "meteoric (or meteor)." The meteor is modifying the rise, so its not important how or even if a meteor rises (or falls, for that matter). What's important is how "meteor" modifies "rise," which is the implication of meteor-like speed.

Hmm... maybe I should try and get some work done...

Puddin' said...

Screw work.

And you're crazy if you think I'm taking an English lesson from an engineer.

The phrase was put together because people associate outer space with rocket ships, which rise. Thus, everything in outer space has an upward trajectory. If speed were the key element, don't you think the phrase would use something that Joe Everyman is more familiar with? Like, a "Ferrari-ish rise" or a "cheetah-like rise"? Of course not! Because the average schmo will associate meteors with rising. That's why the phrase has caught on. It has something to with speed, but only secondarily to the so-called ascent.

While I think what you are saying is wrong, I will forever defend your right to say it.

GiantAsianMan said...

So, when you boil it down, you're real problem is with people's perception of all things outer space (ie- rocket ships). Gee, why didn't you just say so in the beginning?

Puddin' said...

Because that would have made for a terrible blog post. And I still hate the phrase because, however you come to the conclusion, meteors don't rise. The phrase is used in such a way that it implies that they do. Bugs me.

Seacrest out.

Puddin' said...

GAM - You said "you're" when you meant "your."

How's the leg YOU'RE standing on now?