Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, November 09, 2021

I’ve always gotten a kick out of how seamlessly certain athletic terms cross-pollinate from one sport to another. Off the top of my head, here are some of the more notable examples from team sports:

Quarterback - The highest-profile position in football is freely used in hockey as both a noun and a verb. The on-ice version refers to the chief pivot/puck distributor on the power play, usually an offensive defenseman who commands the point.

Hat Trick - The hockey phrase for a player scoring three goals in a game has achieved enough familiarity to be invoked in other sports for any triple-played player achievement.

Centerfielder - A basic fixture in the baseball outfield, it’s been transferred to the football field to describe dropback coverage in the secondary, usually by a linebacker.

Power Forward - A prototypical basketball position, it’s been co-opted in hockey as an informal characterization for a physical center or winger with a scoring touch.

Prevent Defense - Common defensive play-calling tactic in football for hastening the end of a game, it’s applied in basketball and hockey to describe similar clock-killing techniques by the team holding the lead late in a game.

I’m sure there are a couple of other obvious ones that aren’t coming to me at the moment. Even though I haven’t directly worked in sports media for nearly a decade now (time flies!), the shared lexicon that’s developed from dealing with all these phrases sticks with me. It’s a subtle reminders of the relateable game-theory concepts underlying these seemingly-disparate sports.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/09/2021 11:29 PM
Category: Sports, Wordsmithing
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