Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Gave 110% Writing This Blog Post

First of all, I hope everyone out there had a happy Thanksgiving and ate entirely too much. I know I did.

As I was watching football while eating dinner, I decided I would list my top cliches and overused phrases in professional sports right now. It's been on the back of my mind for a long time, and I happened to stumble onto a couple similar lists on other websites this past week. Some of these just flat out don't make any sense when you actually think about them, and I would really love all these phrases be banished from being used in commenting on sports permanently.

10. Any war-related phrase or term. These types of comments are used mostly in football, but they do pop up in other sports occasionally as well. Some of the popular uses are phrases like "going to war," "in the trenches," "lead into battle," etc. I get that football players use these terms to psyche themselves up for a game on Sundays, but I feel like it's growing more and more disrespectful to real soldiers in real combat (especially since there are so many soldiers overseas in real war zones). Plus, isn't the use of these terms just a little melodramatic to describe a football game?

9. "Intangibles." Something that's intangible is by definition undefinable (which almost sounds like a paradox). So why is it that commentators across all major sports keep trying to define something that isn't able to be defined? Just what are they referring to when they quantify a player's intangibles? It's even more silly when a player is discussed over whether or not he will qualify for his respective sport's Hall of Fame. Sure, there are certain qualities that are expected for a player to make the Hall: having won a championship (or more); being considered an elite player at his position; being an All-Star; having won one or more MVP awards during his career; and so on. Beyond those quantifiable categories, commentators get into a player's intangibles. They talk about leadership qualities, or the length of his career, or just random notes about his career in general. This doesn't make any bit of sense!

8. "You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him." Umm...stop me if I'm wrong, but containing a player would equate to stopping him. Containing Chris Johnson would mean the defense had successfully tackled him before he could break away for a 78-yard touchdown run. So what exactly is the difference?

7. "We're just gonna take it one game at a time." You know, because there are teams out there in the NFL who take their seasons 4 games at a time. Has any team ever admitted to concentrating on a game further down on their schedule than the game at hand?

6. "We got guys that give 110% every week." Unless a player on the field can simultaneously play two (or more) positions on the field, I don't see how anyone could give more than 100%.

5. "We want to play the game the right way." What the hell does this even MEAN???? I've typically heard this line used by players who have been struggling in a given season (*cough cough* THE ORIOLES *cough cough*), and one of two things happen to bring this phrase up: either the team makes a managerial change in mid-season, or the team is talking about their plans for a new upcoming season. I ask again, how does a team play a game the right way? And if there is in fact a right way to play a game, then how exactly can a game be played the wrong way? I can only assume players or coaches use this line because it makes for a sound byte, despite it being completely nonsensical.

4. "It is what it is." A cousin to "playing the game the right way." It's a non-answer to any question a reporter may pose to a player or coach in a post-game interview session. Suppose the following scenario: a running back makes a costly fumble late in a tight game. The defense recovers the fumble and take the ball back for a score, giving them the lead and ultimately wins the game for them. A reporter asks the running back his thoughts on the fumble, and invariably he'll use the, "It is what it is" line. He really didn't answer the question at all, not even with a really bad answer like inadequately protecting the football or not seeing the defense coming in for the hit that caused the fumble.

3. "Just gotta go out there and execute." This line is especially used when a team is struggling during a season when they had been successful the previous season. I've heard it used especially with regards to Carson Palmer this year since the Bengals had won the AFC North division this year and they're putrid this year. I've seen football commentators talk about why they aren't as good this year, and they keep saying the Palmer isn't converting third down opportunities, the running game isn't as effective, and the wide receivers are dropping balls. In other words, the team as a whole isn't executing properly. Well gosh, if it's just that simple, any team should be able to turn things around quickly and fix their issues.

2. "A win is a win." Good, because I was a bit confused for a moment. I have to admit though, I have seen press conferences with players like Peyton Manning following a victory where he had a really downtrodden face and demeanor while answering the press' questions. You'd almost think the Colts had lost the game that day even though they may have won 27-20. I suppose there have been games where a team might have ended up winning, but there were plenty of potentially negative things that resulted from the game (an injury to a key player, a controversial call by the refs, etc). Still, it's not like a win can be confused with anything else.

1. "They're not a very athletic team/line/group/etc." This is, without a doubt, the single dumbest line a commentator could use when referring to a single player or as much as an entire team. I've heard this line used mostly in football and basketball, but occasionally in baseball too. These are PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES. Saying these guys aren't very "athletic" doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. If these players aren't very athletic, then why on earth are they on the field in the first place? if they're not strong or fast, that's fine. Say that then. But it's just beyond absurd to say an athlete isn't athletic.

*Conversely, I've watched a few NASCAR races and heard commentators talk about a driver's car being a "fast car." Really? I had no idea that there were some cars in NASCAR that were considered fast, and others that weren't. I feel bad for the drivers who don't drive fast cars since they're clearly in the wrong line of business. I don't know why they don't just quit racing all together since they can't compete with the few drivers who do drive fast cars.

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