Just about as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with sports. I have been seeking out content to watch and to read since well before the internet and smartphones teamed up to keep a continual stream of sports pumping straight into my veins 24/7. So slavish was my dedication at an early age that 10-year-old me set an alarm every night in order to wake up early enough to watch SportsCenter before school. As much as I love sports, however, I didn’t discover sports talk radio until my late 20’s.
In 2008 I moved to San Diego after separating from the Army. The vast majority of my 5+ years as a soldier saw me stationed in Germany or deployed to Iraq/Kuwait meaning that most of my adult life had been spent outside of the United States. This is a key reason that I was late to the sports talk trend that is now HUGE business. But once I discovered it, I was hooked. National shows, local shows, good shows, bad shows. I drank it all in every time I was in my car. I have joked at different times in my life that Jim Rome, Colin Cowherd, Mike&Mike, Scott Van Pelt, Ryen Russillo, and Steve Czaban felt to me like they were my best friends; as though we spent the day sharing sports (even though it’s obviously a unilateral relationship).
It was in 2015 that I finally got to a point where I was listening to too much. For a good chunk of that year, I was either 1- commuting more than two hours a day, 2- unemployed, or 3- working a terrible job where it didn’t really matter what I was doing on a daily basis. I went from enjoying sports talk on the side to focusing on it the way many people treat their 9-5 job. I started to get jealous that these guys were paid (handsomely) to sit and talk about sports when I was working jobs I dreaded or, even worse, spending my days looking for a job. Eventually I went from jealous to judgemental and started nitpicking their work. At that point, I started keeping a list of idiotic things I heard these guys say. Mixed metaphors, failed colloquialisms, botched sayings, inane yammering. If you really listen, they make mistakes at their job just like anyone.
Anyway, it is from this dark place that I bring to you the list below. These are things I have heard people (mostly former athletes and coaches) say on professional broadcasts. I really regret that I stopped keeping a list, but please enjoy these selected highlights:
“Sometimes as a goalkeeper it’s hard to be a stand by guy.” -Alexi Lalas (former US men’s national team soccer player) said this about about US women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo after she got into legal trouble for . . . I wanna say assaulting her nephew. Anyway, some athletes are stand up guys. Some athletes are women. Some athletes are goalkeepers. One too many headers for Alexi during his playing days methinks.
“There’s no two ways around it” -A Washington DC sports talk radio host. He was trying to say “There’s not two ways about it” lol
“He’s a really big guy. It’s not like there’s a Doppler Ganger out there running around.” -A Washington DC radio host talking about NFL player Junior Gallette who denied that a video of him beating a woman with a belt is him. Doppelgänger is a German word that English has borrowed. Doppler Ganger is . . . umm . . . some kind of weather predicting . . . thing?
“Apply your trade” – Former NFL QB and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said this while doing a film breakdown of a QB. According to Webster’s dictionary, “ply one’s trade”: to do one’s particular kind of work. There is no entry for “applying one’s trade.”
“Toronto expects to compete. That’s why they bought the farm.” – Former MLB outfielder Doug Glanville on ESPN talking about the Blue Jays’ going “all in” at the 2015 trade deadline to try and win the World Series (how’s that Tulowitzki deal working out anyway?). Toronto gave up a lot of prospects from their farm system in making these acquisitions, but “buy the farm” is a phrase dating to WWII that means to die.
“The QB is always in front of the microphone because he’s the VOCAL point.” – Former NFL player and coach (and SDSU alum!) Herm Edwards on ESPN radio talking about RG3. I think he was trying to say focal point, but maybe Herm outsmarted all of us here. I mean we know that he PLAYS TO WIN THE GAME.
“They heed and hawed about it” (hemmed and hawed) – Former NFL WR Chris Carter on Mike&Mike discussing the Dolphins firing head coach Joe Philbin. To hem and haw means “to discuss, deliberate, or contemplate rather than taking action or making up one’s mind.” Hee Haw was a popular variety show in the 1970s. I think I’ve heard people referring to the braying of a donkey with the onomatopoeia heehaw. I giggle to think about senior management “heeing and hawing” about firing a bad football coach.
And, finally, my all time favorite:
“This ain’t gonna happen on our clock!” -Ray Lewis (Hall of Fame NFL player) said this and I can’t even remember about what. What he meant was “this ain’t gonna happen on our watch.” Watches and clocks are similar though. Nice try, Ray.
This all probably sounds very mean-spirited, but the truth is I love this stuff. In fact, I have definitely gotten nervous on camera or in front of a microphone and said similarly dumb things which leaves me no right to judge. At any rate, I hope you found this amusing and will considering sending in examples from TV broadcasts, sports talk radio, or anywhere you find them.