Friday, July 24, 2009

Singularize me

How come people covering sports teams with plural team names reference the individual member of these teams in the plural? This happens all the time and it's always absurd.

Follow me. Let's take for example the White Sox. We know that Sox is just a fun spelling of Socks. The team name is undeniably referencing socks. When Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game, he is not the first White Sox to do so in 80 years. He is the first White Sock, or the first Member of the White Sox to do so. Definitely not the first White Sox.

I hear this garbage all the time on sports shows and every time it sounds awkward and you can tell that the speaker is forcing themselves to give the individual a plural reference. Whose terrible convention is this? I often take issue with public nomenclature and this particular form of usage really annoys me more than most. Webster's dictionary adds roughly 100 new words a year. It's not as though all these journalists really need to follow this ridiculous protocol(1). We can change this and let's start now.

Reason No. 5 Why Fantasy Sports Are Great: I played fantasy baseball this year for the first time. I drafted Mark Buehrle in the late rounds and he has been good even though he has few Ks and gives up HRs. I was home packing to move west yesterday, and I decided to watch the White Sox game because I had Buehrle going. That's the only reason. I watched the entire game yesterday. I would NEVER have done that without Fantasy. I saw a perfect game from start to finish with an amazing HR saving catch in the 9th that I dreamed about in Little League whenever I was in the outfield.

I'm working on a thesis that uses sex and sports to explain how fantasy is like alcohol. It's not finished, but here's the outline. Lots of people love having sex and lots of people love following sports. Now even though having sex is enjoyed by everyone, alcohol came along and aided the experience. It made people relax it and it made people's vision worse. It does innumerable things to catalyze the sexy time. It's come so far that most mates meet while drinking or have drinks on their first 2 dates. We drink to get in the mood and we drink to get others in the mood.

Now let's look back at sports. Most guys like sports. We enjoy following sports. Now here comes along fantasy. And it allows guys to have more reasons and more opportunities to enjoy sports. It brings more people in. It gives me a reason to send an email to AJ. It makes us watch. It also gets the ladies more willing. I date a girl that has been playing fantasy football for 2 years now and she has done so on her own volition. She will rootlikeHELL against the opposing players if they touch the ball. She won't watch all the games, but she will check the scores. She has dipped her toe in the water. Fantasy has given her a reason to get in the pool, she can outdraft her boss and beat him on Sunday. The girls want it the boys want it. Fantasy is the sizzurp of sports.

(1) I'm not actually sure what the defense for this pluralization of the singular is, but I'm sure it's out there and I'm referring to whatever it is as "protocol"


Papa Sal said...

Holy footnotes on CampLambeau, Batman! I love it. The analogy is solid. It could even be taken to it's logical conclusion: too much fantasy leads to the inability to enjoy sports, interferes with your life, etc. Just like too much booze leads to the inabilaty to perform in the sack, interferes with your life, etc.

The other thing that drives me crazy is referring to an injury as a body part, not the injury to a body part.
"Ryan Grant is out with an ankle." What does that mean? Did he take a disembodied lower leg to dinner and a movie? Does it really take that much longer to say "Ryan Grant won't play due to an ankle sprain?" Hate it. I've contemplated reaching through the TV to strangle Al Michaels on many occasions.

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Mr.Man said...

The fantasy is to sports like booze is to sex theory continues to work on multiple levels, really. On one level, it can heighten emotion and make you more connected to those various activities. On the other hand, as Papa Sal noted, too much of it ("Damn it, I need Grant scoring, not Brandon Jackson!") can ruin one's love for their team, and seriously interfere with one's ability to competently hit it. Fascinating.

Also, one can think of fantasy/booze as the gateway drugs for sports and sex, respectively. (How many first times come under the influence?) The question is then, to keep the analogy working, what's harder stuff? What's the pot/meth/cocaine equivalent?

Personally, I think low stakes gambling is to sports as probably Viagra or the female equivalent (I think they make one) is to sex. It gives it a decided and specific goal, definitely heightens the intensity, and makes things far less casual and romantic. (Uhh, not that I know from experience or anything.) The next step, of course, is obvious: high stakes gambling is to sports as crystal meth is to sex.

Somebody needs to sell this idea to Bill Simmons.

Phil Mitten said...

Love the analogy guys.

To quibble with the other point though, I usually only hear people refer to someone as a "White Sox player" or first "Magic player" to do something. Maybe I am missing out on the particular morons that are getting it wrong ... thankfully.

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