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Sports Cliché Week: To Use or Avoid Clichés?

Sports Cliche Week

Well… it’s Sports Cliché Week! So we here at Sports Networker decided to give you our take on using clichés in your writing.

Should you use them or lose them? Here’s what we say!

Sports Cliché Week:

For a long time sports journalism explained the outcome of professional sports contests like this:

“Sometimes teams win championships, not because of skill or talent, but because of heart. But other times, teams are teams of destiny that cannot be denied. Some athletes just rise to moment on the big stage. Other athletes are not champions because they lack winning DNA, despite their physical gifts.”

Sports clichés and their cousin, “the narrative”, are as old as sports journalism. I’m sure that when Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 in first college football game ever played, someone said “Rutgers just wanted it more”. But like other things in sports like facemasks, night games, the three-point line and the shot-clock, its time to evolve. It’s time to banish clichés in sports.

We are in an era of unprecedented access to players, coaches, front office personnel and data. The story of sports can now be told with supporting facts. We no longer need to fill in the blanks with vague concepts like “heart”, “will”, and “chemistry”. We don’t have to assume a quarterback was “intimidated by a menacing defense”. Reporters can actually ask him what happened. And his head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

Fans can watch “All-22 video” of the game and determine if his receivers were getting open. Actual facts can be used to help figure out why one team won or lost. When a seemingly unknown player like Danny Green knocks down three-pointer after three-pointer, in the finals, its not because the basketball gods are shining on him, it’s because he made the second most three pointers in the NBA from the corners. I can hear it now; “But Kwame, sports are more than stats.” That is true. But sports are too fun and intricate to be boiled down to things like some players being winners and others being soft.

Clichés rob us of true insight into the games we watch and cheapen the storylines that go with them. There is a reason why Green, is so good from the corners and how he got open. Tony Romo isn’t mistake prone in the fourth quarter. The Patriots don’t always draft the right players. Sports create their own drama; they don’t need help from us. It’s time to ditch clichés and let the games stand on their own.

Image by SportsCliché.com

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