Tis the time of year I love. Yes, football season has arrived! Time to settle in and put out the ‘don’t bother me on Sunday afternoons, Thursday nights and the occasional Monday nights too’ sign.
I have mentioned before that my father loved sports, and he would often watch more than one football game at a time. Pro or college, he didn’t discriminate. My mother had the honor of watching the very first Super Bowl with him and his father (she doesn’t really consider it an honor). He was such a fan that he sometimes even watched through his eyelids–I have tried that technique myself. I don’t find it particularly effective. Maybe I need more practice to find the Zen effect?
I watched all the preseason games for my team–except the last one where our third string passed the ball back and forth with the other team’s third string after 3 and out after 3 and out……that got boring quickly. And since the actual season will start on Sept 10th, I thought I would do this week’s post on football clichés. There are certainly more than enough to choose from, as the announcers seem to use the same phrases over and over again. Many of the clichés used–out of the pocket, in the shadow of the goalposts–are simply phrases originating in the game itself that caught the imagination of other announcers and are used repeatedly. But some of the phrases are used elsewhere in our culture, and some have been stolen from other sources. I picked just a few for the following:
dying breed: players who remind one of football past. Generally this is a positive phrase, as the past is romanticized and the newer, modern players don’t always measure up. Two examples are players who used to stay with a team almost their entire career or players that were known as “hard tacklers.” Now that players tend to trade teams every couple of years, and hard contact has been reduced on the field, these players that stay with a team or hit hard are a “dying breed.”
this should be a chip shot: referencing a kicker, it means the kick should be very easy for the player. It is used when the distance to the goal is relatively short for the skills of that particular player. This cliché (which we hear at least once every game) was stolen from golf. In fact, the dictionary terms it as:
1. (Golf) golf a short approach shot to the green, esp one that is lofted*
hands down: scoring a victory without much opposition. This one was also stolen from other sports. There are two schools of thought on where this came from. One theory is that it came from horse racing, where a jockey doesn’t need to lift his hands to guide his horse when they run the entire race in the front. Another is from boxing, where a boxer doesn’t need to lift his hands to defend himself when the opponent is a pushover.
win one for the gipper: do it right and give it your all for–the coach, injured player; whatever sparks the team to pull together. Famously from a movie starring Ronald Reagan and oft used in movies as well on the field.
And the last thing he said to me, “Rock,” he said, “sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.**
like a wounded duck: a person or thing that no longer works well, especially one that used to work very well. This phrase is used to describe passes and plays during the game. It can be interchanged with ‘lame duck’, which is often used in politics to describe politicians. However, the phrase has nothing to do with sports or politics. It actually is a stock market term, and is used as far back as the 1700s in London. In the London Stock Market and referred to investors who were unable to pay their debts.
In Horace Walpole’s Letters to Sir Horace Mann, 1761, we have:”Do you know what a Bull, and a Bear, and a Lame Duck are?”**