The good old fashioned sports cliché

Published 1:59 am Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The world of sports is often filled with these little annoying things that boggle the mind of the sports fan nearly every time they appear — sports clichés.

Yes the sport cliché is among one of the more irritating parts of the player interview. Every fan wants to know what goes on in the mind of an athlete but they never want to hear the tired responses that are often elicited.

So here is a breakdown of some of the most uttered, most frustrating clichés that show up in player quotes.

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The “make you want to pull out your hair and scream” quote has to be, “We’re going to take it one game at a time.” Why not take two or three games at a time — of course you’re going to take it a game at a time, normally there is only one game to play on a given day.

The mathematically impossible quote: “He/she/we gave 110 percent” This is impossible in any situation, heck 100 percent is impossible as well. How about you give 97.2 percent — that sounds plausible.

The Scripps Spelling Bee cliché: “There’s no I in team” No there isn’t, but there also isn’t “win.” The worst part about this one or maybe the best part, depending on your view, is the equally cliché retort of “yeah, but there’s a me.”

The picture of two sets of footprints on the beach quote: “We’re going to play within ourselves” It sounds insightful upon first review but it’s really not that deep. So you’re not going to do anything crazy that you’re not capable of pulling off, great because if you play outside of yourself you might be doomed for even more failure.

Some of the clichés are not exclusively used by athletes and coaches. Broadcasters and fans get into the act and one of the most used expressions is “That was filthy” How does filth equate into something good or admirable. Moreover how is this expression some how “cooler” than saying “That was dirty.” It’s the same thing you just used a thesaurus.

Other classics include: “He’s a good clubhouse/locker room guy” Is the player the locker room cut-up? Is he taking people out to dinner? What exactly constitutes being a good locker room guy and why is it worth mentioning? Wouldn’t we be more surprised if he wasn’t a good clubhouse guy? This is often a way of saying a player is a nice guy, but not very talented. Denny Hocking was a good clubhouse guy.

The list is expansive and even more infuriating once you start to think about it more and more. Of course some people have thought a great deal about sports clichés and have devoted an entire book to the subject. Dr. Don R. Powell devoted an entire book to the subject entitled, “Best Sports clichés Ever!” Powell even got the always quotable Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner to write the foreword.

Then there is a website devoted solely to the sports cliché. Not only does it provide the most heard clichés, but provides examples of clichés used in various situations. Sportscliché has a cliché for nearly every situation in sports.

Just as bad as the spoken sports clichés is the musical sports cliché. ESPN’s “Jock Jams” comes to mind almost instantly. In a high school gym somewhere in the country there will be a copy of “Jock Jams” laying around. It was such a clever idea that everyone had to have it, but as annoying as all those songs were to begin with having them all on one CD became like a paper cut, a hang nail and having food caught in your teeth all at once. Does anyone every really want to hear “Whomp! There It Is” again?