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Stuff that grinds my gears

Recently, I rewatched the Family Guy movie, “Stewie Griffin – The Untold Story.” My favorite part — ok, at least it’s in the top 10 — is when Peter gets a job on the local TV station where he vents about stuff that just makes him mad (“You know what really grinds my gears?”).

Since I’m mentioning it, I get to reprint the following dialogue, which features Ollie Williams, the oh-so-terse weatherman.

Diane Simmons: …And that’s it for sports. Now, let’s go to Ollie Williams with the Adopt-a-Pet of the week.
Ollie the Weatherman: [holding a small puppy] Who wants this dog?
Diane Simmons: [cut back] Thanks, Ollie. And now, let’s go to Peter Griffin with “Ya Know What Really Grinds My – ”
[Tom Tucker appears]
Diane Simmons: Tom, what are you doing? You don’t work here anymore.
Tom Tucker: Well Diane, I have an exclusive story. And I… can’t figure out how to check my e-mail from home.
Ollie the Weatherman: [off-screen] Did you check your TCP/IP settings?
Tom Tucker: Yes I did, Ollie.
Ollie the Weatherman: [off-screen] Enable cookies?
Tom Tucker: Yes, Ollie.
Ollie the Weatherman: [off-screen] You want this dog?
Tom Tucker: No thank you, Ollie.

OK, that was a bit of an aside, so let’s get into it. You know what really grinds MY gears? People who constantly misuse sports phrases.

I’ve already covered how retired players making up phrases grinds my gears. Today, it’s about people who should know better, but still screw up common phrases.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone has to be Bob Costas, Jim Nantz or Bryant Gumbel. Nobody should have to be that effusive and, well, white. What I’m saying is that when people confuse rather simplistic sports terms, it just drives me crazy. Although sometimes it’s John Q. Idiot who makes the mistakes, the guys in the TV booth can make the occasional faux pas from time to time.

Take the word “volley.” Since I played tennis practically non-stop as a teenager, I’m quite familiar with the definition of that word. You’re hitting the ball before it hits the ground. Now, you can count on it… when I’m playing tennis, volleyball, or other sports that involve hitting a ball between sides, someone will say — after we hit the ball several times back and forth — “Nice volley!”

Nope, chief, that was a nice RALLY. A volley is one hit. A rally is a sequence. And this isn’t just something that the weekend warrior messes up. I’ve heard TV announcers occasionally use volley incorrectly. And it doesn’t really make sense.

The funny thing is that one former volleyball teammate actually thought that the sport was called “volleyball” because it involved hitting the ball back and forth. When I pointed out it was named that because you HAD to hit the ball before it hit the ground, it was like someone seeing the light for the first time. It was cute, actually. OK, it was back in college, the teammate was female, and yes, I did want to date her. But, still, it was cute.

Another one that is commonly screwed up by football commentators is “reverse.” You’ll see this a lot in college football. The quarterback gets the snap, goes one way and then flips the ball to a wideout heading the opposite way. By my estimation, 90 percent of the time the play-by-play guys will scream, “It’s a reverse!!”

Nope, hair helmet. That was an end-around. A reverse has two hand-offs, typically one from the quarterback to running back, then another to the wideout. When they actually see a reverse, they scream “double reverse!!” It’s ri-damn-diculous. And a lot of these guys are former players. Guess they took too many shots without a helmet.

Aw, crap… I’m sure there are a few others on there that I can’t think of right now. Feel free to write in your own. We can start a nice flurry of faux pas. Just get a nice volley of annoyances going.

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Categories: Sports

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