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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Home arrow Sports arrow Columns arrow Learning the lingo

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Learning the lingo

One month in and my mastery of the sports language is starting to come together. At least, that’s what I’d like to say.

Having a limited background in sports makes me realize just how little I have been able to understand in this regard. Now, as I head to the local events and speak with the athletes, I struggle sometimes to find the right words. 

There is such a diversity of languages in the world and speaking sport is most definitely a set of rules and lingos unto itself. 

Sometimes, the closest comparison I can draw to is battle. There are so many cliche’s out there about overcoming the enemy, defending to the last man and rising on new legs to carry on the fight. 

Yet I must use those overused images anew and try to make them sing off of the pages of my work. That is the lingo I must learn. 

I don’t know it very well yet, but I’m learning a bit at a time — every game I attend, every time I write a story and every time I read something somebody else wrote about sports. 

More importantly, it’s the specific language from sport to sport that my poor brain is working to take in and use. 

Luckily, I’m not doing so alone. 

I’ve had a lot of fun talking with coaches and getting to know their different personalities. They are an inspiration to me. Listening to them speak and writing their words is the main instruction I have received. 

If I speak to a coach whose team has won, then they are going to be celebrating. That energy will carry over into what I write and help me understand a little more about what is happening on the court. 

However, speaking with the coach of a losing team is sometimes disheartening. But they never seem to give up, and their words have sometimes been the strongest encouragement to my flagging soul. 

The game environments are energetic with lots of participation. Friends and families of the players cheer their boy or girl on. Other members of the community come to support the high school. It costs a little, but that money goes to the school and the kid’s education. 

Those kids are the next greatest inspiration to me. 

While talking with them during interviews, they have sometimes been unsure of what to make of me and sometimes I wish they would say just a little more, but their ernest responses always teach me. 

It really has been a fun first month of going to games, speaking to coaches, interviewing kids and writing down what I hope represents their experiences and perspectives. 

Now, I am more connected to the local schools and the coaches and kids that represent them. 

I know better what it is to connect on a community level. People have come together hoping that their school, their team, their son or daughter will make a winning play and go home with pride. 

I also know the honor of the defeated, as they literally lift themselves from the floor one step at a time and make plans for a better next time. 

Next time I write here, I will also be better. In part, it is thanks to the people I work with, the people I interview and the teams of our valley that I can also lift myself and step one foot at a time towards a better me. 

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