Overused words, unfulfilled promises mark the year in sports

By Charles Hallman

There are words that simply must be purged from our language.

Appropriately, these words duly earn a dishonored place on the Another View’s third annual Banished Overused Words (BOWs) list.

This annual year-end column was inspired by Lake Superior State (Mich.) University’s annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness, first created by the school’s former public relations director Bill Rabe in 1975.

“Shovel-ready,” “transparent/transparency,” and any word with “Obama” as a prefix such as “Obamacare” are featured on the 2010 list, as well as the following words, which certainly would’ve made my list:

• Tweet: Unless we’re talking about Sylvester the Cat’s longtime nemesis Tweety, then this word shouldn’t be used.

• App: Is this shorthand for “apple”?

• Bromance: I’ve used Pepto-Bismol, so this must be some new brand of laxative.

• Chillaxin: A fancy type of chili?

Our 2010 list isn’t merely sports related, although overuse-ness in sports is the unfortunate norm and not the exception. Here are this year’s BOWwow’s — these totally needless words or phrases that makes me painfully howl as would dogs after hearing a high-pitched whistle:

• “Control your own (or their own) destiny”: A phrase announcers babble about when referring to a team’s playoff chances.

• Any word made up using an existing word: “Bracketology” is a perfect example; this word typically comes around March Madness time.

• “End of the day” (suggested by MSR sports intern Onika Nicole Craven): I still don’t know if this means 5 pm, 12 midnight or whenever the workday ends. It shouldn’t be used when talking sports.

• “Good as it gets”: The opposite of “bad as it is.”

• “Social media”: This must be referring to the haughty know-it-all Twin Cities media.

• “Next level” (as in “Can he or she play at the next level?): This is better used on those inside-the-mall maps.

• “Come to play”: I certainly hope so, especially when I’m paying my hard-earned bucks to see them.

• “Length”: Wolves Coach Kurt Rambis’ oft-used reference to his players’ height and arm span and not his team’s rarely-seen win streaks.

In addition, our list this year includes several individuals that should disappear as well:

All ESPN announcers who endlessly practice one-upmanship (or in the spirit of gender equity, one-upwomanship) whenever they’re on the air.

The two U-M student announcers on the Big Ten Network’s “Student U” telecasts, who sounds like the cartoon chipmunks “Chip ’n’ Dale.”

Politicians such as Sarah Palin, who routinely mumbles such nonsensical words as “shore-up,” and is one-fourth of the Mount Rushmore of Hate: Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

All those sports talk hosts who refuse to properly give credit to the UConn Lady Huskies women’s basketball team’s current winning streak when they won their 89th game in a row December 21. Rather than admit that probably not all of UCLA’s 88 wins (Jan. 30, 1971 — Jan. 17, 1974) were against “quality” opponents, these mostly male elitists want to claim that Connecticut’s streak, which began Nov. 21, 2008, was done against inferior opponents. If the late UCLA coach John Wooden didn’t have a problem with UConn’s run before he died earlier this year, why do they?

Brett Favre, the Minnesota Vikings’ drama queen.

The NBA’s Miami Heat: No championship is ever won on paper or by signing two players last summer as well. However, seeing them on TV each week reminds me of when ABC constantly showed Boston, Philadelphia and New York every Sunday back in the 1960s and early 1970s. Since ABC is owned by ESPN, this season’s Heat overkill is just this generation of East Coast bias coverage, South Beach version.
This 2010 year was another year of “once agains.”

We saw the opening of another new stadium — the Minnesota Twins’ new downtown Minneapolis ballpark. We witnessed once again the Minnesota Timberwolves finishing their regular season as one of the league’s worst. Once again, the Minnesota Lynx didn’t make the post-season last summer, despite their first-year head coach’s earlier pre-season prediction to the contrary.

The Wolves once again cleaned house, promising us (once again) that their series of off-season moves and draft picks will move them closer to respectability (once again).
We saw once again the Twins win their division, only to be bounced out of the playoffs by the New York Yankees (once again).

The Lynx once again won the WNBA Lottery this fall, but will they once again trade away the top overall pick for yet another former Gopher?

Unfortunately once again we saw little diversity in local team management, head coaching and sports media. And although we are to embark on a new year, some things never change.

Once again.

To see the Lake Superior State’s 2010 List of Banished Words, go to www.lssu.edu/banished.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.