Frank Deford, Commentator for NPR Speaks About Sports Idioms.

Mr. Deford’s September 26th NPR (National Public Radio) broadcast had this title:

RG3: A Game Changer for Thirds Everywhere

We’re all familiar with the many sports terms that have moved into general usage: “par for the course,” “slam-dunk,” “curveball,” “photo finish” and so on.  Curiously, though, every now and then something of the inverse occurs, and we get an expression which is commonly used that has been derived from sport, but never used in sport. For example, that awful, overdone cliche, “level playing field.” Never in my life have I ever heard anyone in sport — that is, somebody actually right there on the level playing field — say, “I’m glad we’re playing on a level playing field.”   

Mr. Deford  discussed a few other terms he had never heard anyone use in tennis:  The ball’s in your court, or It’s in your court.  And soccer moms: he had never heard anyone use that term about soccer moms in reference to soccer.  However, Mr. Deford, my niece’s school had soccer teams and a mother’s team called “Soccer Moms.”

 “Real games have turning points. But things that are not games have game changers:

Here, though, is a game changer, uniformwise, that especially interests me. The star rookie quarterback of the Washington Redskins is named Robert Lee Griffin III. And so far as I know, he is the first player ever — ever — in the entire history of sports uniforms, to have “the third” on his uniform. It says “GRIFFIN III.

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