Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sport's Cliches

At some point a phrase falls limp from exhaustion. One day it is pithy wisdom; the next day it’s bad journalism or hollow string of words.

Q-Will you be ready for the big game tomorrow?
A-We’re going to leave it all on the field.

There’s no place like a locker room for dead language to pile up. Athletes are great practitioners, answering clichéd questions with clichéd responses.

Q-How did it feel hitting that home run?
A-I was just trying to make contact.

The sportswriter has a deadline. He/she’s got twenty minutes to file the story, get the close-up, the quote, the gem. But there is none. The player is numb. He hasn’t processed what just happened.

Q- How was your approach facing that pitcher having struck out in your last twelve trips to the plate.
A-I can’t hit and think at the same time. I live in the moment. I just try to slow the game down and focus.   

Professional sports is theater, human drama in real time, sometimes rising to the level of experiential art. It may be the only thing we don’t record. We want to see it live. Interviews are weak tea, superfluous captions to what we witnessed. Incapable words.

Q-What went wrong tonight? Were you feeling fatigue? How did it feel letting your team down?
A-Nobody’s perfect. Credit the other team. Now shut the hell up.

Q-What were the takeaways you learned from this series?
A-The Zen you find on the mountain is the Zen you bring with you.

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