From the stands

That’s big!

I watched some football on TV this past weekend and decided to share with you some enlightening, incisive, horizon-broadening, gripping, straight-to-the-point, awe inspiring, knowledgeable, keep-me-glued-to-the-TV, intellectually challenging snippets of analysis by various analysts, play-by-play, and color commentators. Oh, and I am adding in parenthesis my personal reactions to these broadcast gems.

“Keep in mind that this is a BIG third down.” (Nice reminder that third downs apparently come in various sizes.)

“Wow! This a BIG play.” (Apparently, third downs aren’t the only parts of the game that come in varying sizes.)

“What a BIG catch that was.” (Yep, even pass catches come in different sizes.)

“This could be a BIG series of downs if the Cats are to hold on and win.” (Bigger perhaps than the last series that resulted in a go-ahead touchdown?)

“This will be a BIG drive for the Hawks.” (Is this a prediction or a put-down on the size of the other drives?)

“First down! What a BIG run that was.” (You expected them to try a small run?)

“Let’s see a replay and catch that BIG block that sprung Smith around the corner. (Blocks come in various sizes? Wait, I know. He meant to point out that the block was by the 6-4, 340-pound right tackle. He’s BIG.)

“They stopped ’em cold on that fourth down. What a BIG tackle that was.” (Actually, it wasn’t a big tackle; it was the 360-pound nose guard who flattened the runner.)

Confounded, puzzled, distraught, irritated, perplexed, just plain curious, or whatever about the overabundant, if not overbearing, use of the word big, I began pondering possible reasons for this phenomenon:

  • Big is an all-encompassing, yet simple word and thus easily understood by the audience, whether those viewers be highly informed or just casual observers (But it’s such a meaningless word; big compared to what?)
  • Big is a universally understood word (Yes, but it has different meaning, depending on the person and the situation.)
  • It’s the big word (sorry about that) learned in broadcast training (But how many of the TV analysts, play-by-play, and color commentators have broadcast training?)
  • The folks in the booth lack the vocabulary to use more descriptive or colorful words than BIG (Bite my tongue.)

While musing on this, it occurred to me that perhaps there isn’t anything happening that is bigger than BIG or, if there is, there isn’t a bigger than BIG word to capture the moment. Then, I heard this:

“What a HUGE touchdown that is.” (Eureka! There is time when BIG isn’t big enough. It’s HUGE, which, of course, is a bigger word than BIG. It’s four letters rather than three.)

I can barely wait until next weekend. What a BIG weekend of football it will be. I’m in a BIG hurry for it, which makes it a BIG wait for Saturday to arrive. It’s BIG that Big 12 conference games are starting. If the Cowboys were playing, it would be more than a BIG weekend; it would be HUGE.

Just a view from the stands, folks

No point in lying about it. The evidence would betray me.

I’m a sports fan, a dyed-in-the-wool sports fan.

Some might say a sports fanatic, but I would deny that. In the past, maybe I was, but not today. A sports fanatic has little to no time for anything else. He is glued to that couch virtually every waking hour and, if no baseball, football, basketball or hockey game is on, he’s watching golf, tennis, gymnastics, NASCAR, the X Games, skiing, or, if desperation has set in, the strongest man in the world competition or professional wrestling.

Not me. In a past life, I might have been borderline fanatic. But now, I’ve just an avid fan. It’s true that on some nights I may turn on the radio to listen to the final minutes of an Oklahoma State basketball game while I watch a football game on TV with the sound on mute. What average sports fan doesn’t do that? Nothing fanatic about it, right?

Each morning, I grab the sports sections from the two daily morning newspapers I take, and I read those sections, sometimes while riding my stationary bike. Why not? When you’re working that hard and going nowhere, you need something to keep your mind occupied. It’s light reading and a constant reminder that sports writers and editors apparently skipped Grammar 101 class too often.

I’ve followed sports for years, briefly coached little league before giving it up because of the parents, and won a few trophies in bowling and several in tennis. Actually, I was an avid tennis player, playing in USTA competition, until about three years ago when my doctor advised me that my back and hips would function better if I quit. Oh, I also played church league slow-pitch softball and umpired one year before deciding that being a church league did not guarantee totally Christian reactions to my umpiring decisions.

I have subscribed to Sports Illustrated almost since its inception. I used to watch ESPN Sports Center, but some of those would-be comedians became too much for me. Besides, it ceased to be news and became primarily entertainment—entertainment I didn’t find entertaining. However, I am a regular watcher of ball games on ESPN and ESPN2, though sometimes I mute the sound. Am also a regular viewer on some of the Fox outlets. In addition, I have several sports sites bookmarked on my computer.

Most sports columnists or bloggers either profess to have some type of expertise or they hope you will assume they do. It is on that basis that they share their wisdom with you.

I’m not a member of that fraternity; I’m one of you—a sports fan, an avid one. I think you and I have a right to our opinions, too. We’re not getting paid to write it or speak it, but that’s okay. With that in mind, I decided to tackle writing about sports from a fan’s perspective. Those are my credentials. I’m a fan. See the above.

I don’t have access to the players or coaches. I don’t have inside information. I don’t have the famous “sources.” I just know what I read, what I hear, what I see on TV, and what I see on those few occasions I get to attend games.

Nonetheless, I thought it would be fun to write a blog from a fan’s point of view. So, here it is, a blog I am calling “From the Stands.” I’m in the stands with you, literally or figuratively, and I hope you’ll drop by from time to time and read what I’m observing “From the Stands.”

No set schedule for the blog, but I hope it turns out to be two or three times a week. Let me hear from you, but keep it clean. Potty mouths need not respond.

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