Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sporting Terminology

One frequently hears English expressions derived from sporting terminology. This is true even if one is in a professional setting or amongst "polite company". The aim of this blogpost is to guide the reader through some of the more frequent sporting colloquialisms that one encounters on a daily basis.

I figured this would be of great help to those of you who aren't too sporty or who encounter these expressions on a daily basis and can't quite comprehend what's being said. Bear in mind, these phrases are not only from American English, but also from British and Canadian English, as well as the English spoken on the Indian sub-continent. Here they are:

3rd and long -- an American football term: an attempt to do something with only a slight chance of success.

Hail Mary pass -- an American football term: your last "give it all you got" attempt at something with little or no chance of success. Much longer odds than "3rd and long".

A ballpark figure -- a baseball term: a roundabout figure.

From left field -- a baseball term: unexpected, out-of-the-blue, far-out; somewhat inconceivable.

Follow the puck -- an ice-hockey term: follow the action; go where the action is; go where the opportunities are.

On the front foot -- a cricket term: to be on the offensive.

On the back foot -- a cricket term: to be on the defensive.

Plays with a straight bat -- a cricket term: "plays fair", or to engage in fair play.

On a sticky wicket --  a cricket term: a difficult environment; a difficult circumstance.

It's not cricket! -- a cricket term: not fair! not played according to the rules; a lot of cheating involved.

On the ropes -- a boxing term: in a difficult situation; despondent after a series of losses; about to experience a crushing blow.

Time out -- a basketball term: to (literally) call for time; to ask for a temporary reprieve,  a temporary respite.

A slam dunk -- a basketball term: something that's a near-given as a success. A can't-miss opportunity (to succeed at whatever you're doing).

Kicked into touch -- a rugby term: similar to basketball's "taking a time out"; putting the issue(s) being dealt with aside for a more opportune time.

A scrum -- a rugby term: literally a free-for-all.

A hospital pass -- a rugby term: a given opportunity that (in hindsight) should've been passed away. On the rugby-field this is the kind of pass that puts the receiver (literally) in hospital after being clobbered by the opposing team. Many an opportunity for advancement are best declined.

There are many more of course but I hope the few that I gave you will come in handy.

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