On Metaphors, Meaning, and Sports

On May 2, 1908, the iconic song, “Take me out to the Ball Game,” was registered for copyright.

“And it’s one, two, three strikes– you’re out…” and everyone sings along, joyously, swaying along, clutching their peanuts and popcorn and maybe a beverage. It’s the seventh inning stretch, and people oblige willingly, glancing around to see who they might know, or what they might step in, before it’s time to settle in for the rest of the game.

Have you ever really stopped to consider just how many sports phrases are a living part of American English? For such a “plain-speaking” crew, we sure do employ an awful lot of metaphors. Many of us just can’t get to first base with anyone in a conversation if we can’t figure out how to connect, and oddly enough, sports jargon seems to keep us from getting behind the 8 ball. See? It’s easy to slip those in there, and we often don’t realize that we are, in fact, speaking in sports metaphors. Figuratively speaking, metaphors allow us to pack a whole lotta punch with few words, allowing the reader to follow the conversation with all of the nuances and associations. I mean, if someone can’t follow what you are trying to say, then you’ll just have to drop back five and punt, right? You wouldn’t want them to tee off on you and create a real no-win situation. If we learn how to manipulate cultural metaphors like this, then they become another tool we can use– winner, winner, chicken dinner!

If not, then all bets are off.

Keep well,


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