Article #105 - Word count: 555

 

Sports Cliches: Familiar Phrases Bring Comfort, Save Time & Establish Common Bonds Among Fans       

          In the evolution of language, only the most powerful phrases survive. Those enjoying wide usage in our culture are called cliches. Although used repetitively by definition, they provide a kind of shorthand, communicating complex ideas quickly along with information about the shared interest of the speaker and the listener.

            Sports provides a metaphor for business, commerce and life. The unique lingo of competitive sports also gives us many of our most common examples of phrases that are instantly understood. Consider the following from a new book by Dr. Don Powell (a.k.a. "Dr. Cliche"), a licensed psychologist. Entitled, Best Sports Cliches Ever!, the book available at www.BestSportsCliches.com includes such familiar exclamations as:

     "He's playing to the crowd.
     "This game will be won in the trenches."
     "He brought his ‘A’ game."
     "She can really light up the scoreboard."

          "Dr. Cliche" says that the players themselves invoke more cliches than anyone else, followed by sportscasters and fans. Football produces more cliches than any other sport, and Powell nominates football sportscaster John Madden as the Grand Champion of Cliches. Common cliches used by Madden and other football announcers are: "They need to step it up."; "That's a big-time play."; "They took it to the next level."; and "He's the go-go guy."

           According to Dr. Powell, cliches are a very efficient form of communication because a person can use just a few words to express a complex thought, and others will immediately know what is meant. "For instance," the author writes, "when you say 'That play will come back to haunt them,' the sports fan knows right away that a player has made a misplay that, later in the game, will be a factor in determining the outcome of the contest." Powell adds that, "Cliches are also like a secret handshake, a way for veteran sports fans to identify themselves to other fans as someone who knows the score."

             Moreover, he notes, "Familiarity breeds comfort. In the fast-changing and uncertain times we live in today, there is something soothing about things that are common and familiar. They provide comfort and trust; they make us feel good. This is why so many people enjoy antiques, classic cars, songs from their teens, and aging rock groups. Good feelings can also be produced by words, including cliches."

            "Dr. Cliche" assembled his cited sports cliches with the assistance of what he calls his personal "Dream Team", an informal board of advisors including a gynecologist, attorney, ophthalmologist, sportscaster, a retired policeman, an accountant, a college student, a dentist and eight others, sports fans all, with an ear for the familiar.

            Long fascinated by sports cliches, Powell compiled an initial list by jotting some down while on a plane trip from Texas to Detroit. That original roster of 300 has since reached more than 4,000 and is still growing.

            Dr. Powell's book, available at www.BestSportsCliches.com, features a foreword by Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, and presents testimonials from Alex Delvecchio, Willie Horton, Bob (Butterbean) Love and other star athletes. The book makes an excellent gift or addition to the library of any sports fan. A quick, fun read, it can be enjoyed easily at the coffee table or before bedtime, and will enrich anyone's vocabulary of competitive sports.In the evolution of language, only the most powerful phrases survive. Those enjoying wide usage in our culture are called cliches. Although used repetitively by definition, they provide a kind of shorthand, communicating complex ideas quickly along with information about the shared interest of the speaker and the listener.

 

 
 

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