Last week in my sports journalism class, our professor Michael Holley gave us an assignment. He wanted us to tare down some of the worst cliches said by athletes and sports media members. Here are three of the worst cliches and what I had to say about them. Here at Believe in Boston Sports, we give you original ideas and avoid these tired phrases.
You’ve got to be patient: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This one is annoying as it lets athletes basically say nothing. If an athlete said this in an interview, I would try to press them into talking more about the specific game. If the reporters let that statement be said over and over without any follow up questions, they will continue to reach for that crutch of a statement. I also find it annoying when media members say this to couch their takes on a team. I know you have to look ahead, but talk about what has happened so far. This, “Oh we’ll see what happens in the playoffs,” is lazy. Talk about what is going on now, or even, why you think an issue will arise then. Discuss what has happened or what you think will happen. Do not wait for the playoffs to judge a team.
Taylor was able to win in straight sets, even though he had his “C” game for most of the afternoon. [Prof. note: Tiger Woods introduced that description 20 years ago; time for a generational update.] I hear this type of language a lot when describing all-time great players. Tom Brady and LeBron James are often brought up in these discussions. I would try to stick to the specific performance. If you are not careful, you could be pushing these great players into impossible to win scenarios. If he plays great and loses, criticize. If he plays alright in a win, criticize. Be consistent with your stances on great players. If they need to be dominant all the time and win all the time, your expectations are too high.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a player like Zion Williamson. He’s unbelievable! He’s unstoppable! He’s a beast! This one drives me crazy because it sounds like a 12 year-old talking. There is no appreciation for anyone who either played in the previous generation or is still playing. Also, there is no analysis. A professional needs to come up with original opinions. Such as, he is the greatest prospect since LeBron James and why. He will become the best player in the league in five years because… You should have an opinion and reasoning behind your take. It needs to sound more polished and professional than that.
When players or other media members use phrases like these, we need to call them out. Our readers, viewers, listeners deserve to hear better than these meaningless sayings. If you have a platform to opine on sports, it is part of the job to come up with original thoughts and avoid using cliches.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones