Archive for September, 2014

Inside the Huddle

September 21, 2014

Sports Illustrated, 9/22/2014

Go Inside the Huddle and Into the Heads of the Game’s Greatest Quarterbacks

NFL QB: THE GREATEST POSITION IN SPORTS, Publisher:  Sports Illustrated

“For anyone who’s a football fan, this is the most comprehensive and entertaining tribute to the quarterback position ever…”

The above is part of an ad for “the greatest position ever,” a book about NFL (National Football League) quarterbacks, photographs and stories of the “greats.”

In an American football game the offensive team gets together in a huddle to decide on the next play guided by the quarterback.  For more information go to




Upping the Ante for Yale Football

September 17, 2014

Personal History

The New Yorker, September 8, 2014

Phi Beta Football, by John McPhee

This is a great article by Mr. McPhee, whose father played football at Oberlin, was the Princeton Football team doctor, and whose next door neighbor was Tad Wieman, the Princeton coach.

“…Weiman won four straight games against Yale in those years (mid-20th century).  Before one Yale game, he collected his team and unfurled before them a banner large enough to cover ten guys at once, or so it seemed to me.  The banner was black with orange block letters a foot and a half high that said ‘PRINCETON.’  Speaking quietly, Wieman told his cloistered team that the banner before them represented what they were about to do, and nothing they had ever done was more important.I had never witnessed such a solemn scene.  Wieman, of course, was not alone in this genre of forensic doaching.  And, a decade later, Herman Hickman of Yale, was said to up the ante, telling his players that representing Yale on the football field would forever be the pinnacle of their lives.”

This is interesting because Mr. McPhee used a gambling metaphor, up the ante, in a sports article.  In my site,, I separated the sports idioms/metaphors from the gambling ones.  If you go to the above site and type in most U.S. sports idioms or game idioms, you can find the idiom in the derviative form and the idiomatic form as well as sentences and explanations.

Up the ante is used in poker.  Basically, it’s raising your bet.

Suspension Roulette

September 17, 2014

Sports Tuesday

The New York Times, Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Analysis: In League Ruled by Fiat, Response Seen as Flailing, by Ken Belson

“N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s varying responses to disciplinary problems have led critics to call for him to step down.  The decision by N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell to increase Ray Rice’s suspension from two games to an indefinite ban has done little to quell the criticism that has surrounded the league this past week in its heading of domestic violence cases.

Adding to the uproar is the inconsistent approach of various N.F.L. teams to the issue, dealing with their own cases of accusations of domestic violence in ways that can be ad hoc, opportunistic or even cynical.”

Roulette is a gambling game where players may choose to place bets on either a single number or a range of numbers, the colors red or black, or whether the number is odd or even.  To determine the winning number and color, a croupier spins a wheel in one direction, then spins a ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track running around the circumference of the wheel. (Wikipedia)

The article uses a gambling idiom for varying responses to player discipline in the National Football League (N.F.L.).


U.S. Strategy: Singles and Doubles Instead of Home Runs

September 4, 2014


The New York Times OP-ED Tuesday, September 3, 2014

Frank Brun: Obama’s Messy Words

Is President Obama projecting “an image of presidential resolve or decisiveness a a time of international turmoil?”

“He’s adopted a strange language of self-effacement, with notes of defeatism, reminding us that ‘America, as the most powerful country on earth, still does not control everything’; that we must be content at times with singles and doubles in lieu of home runs; that not doing stupid stuff is its own accomplishment.”

There is another idiom, a golf one, in the article, that “’s par for the historical course, all a matter of perspective and not so cosmically dire.”

Par is an average score on a golf course.



Leveling the Fields: College and Student Preparation

September 3, 2014

Two New York Times articles, one on the OP-ED page: September 1, 2014,  and a number of Letters to the Editor, September 2, 2014 address these issues:

Is Your Student Prepared for Life, by Ben Carpenter

There are quite a few suggestions in this article and in Mr. Carpenter’s book, “The Bigs: The Secrets Nobody Tells Student and Young Professionals.”

Among the suggestions is this: “Career Training is also an issue of equal opportunity.  Some students receive advice and professional contacts at home, but some receive nothing.  Comprehensive career training would help level the playing field.”

The title of the Letters to the Editor section of the editorial page is Leveling the College Playing Field,  a section of letters in response to an article on August 20, 2014, “Generation Later, Poor Still Rare at Elite Colleges.”

Leveling the field seems to be the idiom of choice these days.  No explanation is needed as the metaphor really summarizes the ideas in the  article and the letter.  If in doubt, please look at previous blogs.