Free-Floating Hostility

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sports Whores Find an Unlikely Voice in the Style Section

Some of our readers will not be familiar with SportsSpeak, the language my mom created to help her out of her sports dyslexia. The principle behind SportsSpeak is that when conversing with a man about sports, one need only memorize four sentences, and then master the art of placing them in the right context. For the uninitiated, these sentences are:
  • At this point in the season it could go either way. [This would be very very bad to use on Superbowl Sunday, unless you're talking about basketball.]
  • We'll be fine as long as we don't have anymore injuries.
  • Well, so much depends on the coaching.
  • What really matters is, can he come through in the clutch?
My mother astutely observed that if she pulled out one of these sentences about every seven minutes, the man would fill in the rest of a half-hour's conversation with his own insights, and at the end of that time he would turn to her and say "It is so refreshing to meet a woman who's really knowledgable about sports."

I took this lesson to heart, and have used it on more of my husband's colleagues than you can count (the Hobbs High School football coach was a favorite conquest). I have acquired some more sophisticated sports bromides over the years, and I've gotten so good at it that my mother has taken to calling me a Sports Whore. But this morning I tip my hat to the Sports Pimp, one Brendan Tapley, who wrote this week's "Modern Love" column in the Times.

Mike, ever the schmaltzer, usually makes me read "Modern Love," and it's usually a snoozer. But this week I was riveted by Tapley's account of learning the male lingua franca, which had long eluded him, by following Patriots football. "These days, I speak passable Manglish," he writes, "But you can tell I still have an accent." Tapley thereby wins a place in my list of favorite written sentences. First place belongs of course to Anthony Lane: "The problem is not that this is agitprop...but that it is kitsch, and the problem with kitsch is that it is like comedy with its hand down its pants, taking far too much pleasure in its own conceit."

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at February 06, 2005 12:59 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Most humans usually consider those who listen to them blather on to be the most intelligent and well spoken. This post reminded me of a comment by Cheri Oteri once made on the Daily Show, when she described what men mean when they say they like a girl with a sense of humor. "They mean a woman with big breasts who laughs at all their jokes."

Post a Comment