Hello, My Friends,
I hope this issue finds you enjoying the crisp, colorful days of autumn. Since I have retired, I feel that I can really enjoy the beauty of fall so much more. Many of you who are retired teachers will understand exactly what I mean. We can now enjoy the cool mornings without having to rush around getting ready for the school day or even worse, the dreaded “Fall Carnival.” As a high school teacher, I remember beginning preparations for Homecoming the first week of school! Unfortunately, dedicated teachers must constantly be living in the future in order to make preparations for big events. Of course, that means they cannot fully enjoy the beauty and treasures of today. But those thoughts are for another column…
Another joy of the fall is football…on any level. Somehow, someway almost everyone gets pulled into football. From midget leagues to professional, Americans love their football. I am married to a real football enthusiast, so our fall activities revolve around a college football schedule. And although I tease him about his passion for the sport, I must confess that I do enjoy all the social events that surround the sport – especially the eating!
One little hobby of mine lately is to listen to the unique language of the sportscasters. This is very easy for me to do since after we sit in the stands and see the game, we must listen to wrap-up on the radio while waiting in the traffic line to exit the stadium. Then we must catch the sports news on ESPN to see the highlights of the game again when we return home. And on Sunday or Monday, we must listen to the scouting report for the coming week as it applies to how the team played the last game (which I have memorized, by now!).
Sportscasters have a distinct speaking style. The amazing thing is that either young or old, male or female, they all sound the same. Their inflection and emphasis are the same. I imagine that there is some “Harvard of Broadcasting School” that teaches them the way to vocally punctuate their stories. And they all SAY the same things. There is a sports code that I feel I have mastered now.
“This will be a rebuilding year for us.” Translation: “We didn’t get a very good recruiting class, and we are going to stink. Please don’t fire me at the end of the season.”
“Our team showed a lot of character and heart.” Translation: “We lost because they were so much better than we were, but we finished the game anyway.”
Another observation regarding sports broadcasting is the ability of the sports announcers to invent new words. And the amazing thing is the sports-loving public understands those words immediately. Recently I heard a very well-known sports voice use the word, “value-tivity,” as in “his value-tivity to the program is undeniable.” Another favorite is: re-retrieved. Yes, those words were actually used to express meaning to a sports-adoring public. Get out your red pens, English teachers!
But at least the words are new and creative, I suppose. However, some of the time-worn, much-overused statements are so predictable I feel as though I could script the coaches’ interviews myself. A case in point: “When they are not playing exceptionally well, they always play hard.” And the best one: “They’re going to have to put more points on the board to win.” Really?! This poor coach is saving his words for the locker room rant to come.
But the absolute best interview statement in my memory is one from long ago when then-sportscaster OJ Simpson was interviewing a young Archie Manning whose team was behind.
At the half, OJ, mic in hand, leans into the quarterback and asks, “Archie, you are down by three touchdowns, what are you going to do when you get back in?”
To which Archie, in his rich Southern accent replies, “I reckon we’re going to try to catch up.”
Enjoy your fall….and go, team!