Know your jargon? Try out our test.
Every trade has its jargon. We journalists like to laugh at corporate babble (“We must think outside the box to empower our stakeholders”), edu-speak (“Our youngsters require enhanced child-centered collaborative activities for discovery learning”) and cop talk (“I advised the male subjects to disperse”).
But we too, even humble sports writers, are guilty of jargon, as our Independent proofreaders constantly remind my editor and me.
To an extent, the terminology of the sport itself dictates what we must write — someone reading about a football game has to know that a touchdown is not a space shuttle returning to earth.
But while a writer wants to be conversational and speak to those who follow specific sports, he or she also does not want to get caught up in jargon that makes the casual reader curse and turn to Sudoku.
What are typical examples of sports-speak? The reader is invited to pick out the correct definition for each of the following and then evaluate his or her expertise at the end of our Addison Independent Sports Jargon Pop Quiz.
1. A “zone trap” is:
A. What the sheriff’s department deploys in New Haven Junction.
B. A workplace in which employees have no control over the thermostat.
C. A basketball defensive strategy using positioning to channel and double-team a ballhandler.
2. A “one-timer” is:
A. A faithful spouse.
B. A New York Jets fan who can only talk about the Namath Super Bowl.
C. A shot taken by an ice hockey, field hockey or soccer player without first stopping the puck or ball.
3. A “dinger” is:
A. Australian slang for a concussion.
B. What happens to a car if, for example, its owner forgets to use the emergency brake on a slope near Mister Up’s.
C. What it’s called when a baseball player goes yard, deep or downtown; a.k.a. hits a tater, big fly, or round-tripper.
4. A “silly mid-on” is:
A. An aging Panther athletic fan wearing team gear.
B. A slow-speed accident in which one car runs a stop sign and hits another broadside.
C. A defensive position in the game of cricket.
5. A “counter play” is
A. Retail theft accomplished by distracting the cashier.
B. A response to a political attack ad in which the subject is changed.
C. An American football running play that relies on misdirection.
6. “Around the horn” is:
A. The long way to the Indian Ocean.
B. In bullfighting, waving the red flag as close as possible to the animal’s face.
C. In baseball, throwing the ball from third base to second base to first base.
7. “Shooting space” is:
A. How far away from the road a hunter must be to take aim at a deer.
B. Firing guns into the air.
C. An obsolete women’s lacrosse rule that often benefits the team that commits the infraction.
8. “Taking the body” is:
A. A ritual in a major religion.
B. An ineffective tactic in a zombie movie.
C. Recommended defensive strategy in men’s hockey, in which body-checking is legal, rather than chasing the puck.
9. “Keeping it hot” is:
A. Paying the money for the bleacher warmers in the Memorial Sports Center.
B. Putting on a half-dozen layers of clothes for outdoor games in November and April.
C. Moving the ball quickly on offense in men’s lacrosse.
10. “Third party obstruction” is:
A. Ralph Nader.
B. The new Tufts University rule banning certain activities if roommates are present.
C. An obsolete field hockey rule that needlessly stops play too often.
ANSWERS: C is correct for all 10.
• 0 Correct: Section B is Sports. You wanted Section A. Sorry.
• 1-9 Correct: Average and healthy.
• 10 correct: Suspicious. Did you really know what a silly mid-on was?