||December 28, 2004
He Did His
recently that our Cardinals guy, Kent Somers, had seized
upon a new cliché that athletes are spouting with regularity:
"It is what it is."
We started thinking there ought to be some credit for being
the first to pinpoint it, like if he discovered Pluto or
something. So we called on the guy who wrote the book on sports
Dr. Don Powell, a psychologist and author of Best
Sports Clichés Ever! has identified 4,300 sports clichés, a
list he paired down to 1,771 for the book. (You can order it
through Amazon.com or at BestSportsCliches.com, where you can
also vote for the all-time sports cliché.)
And, yes, Powell has recently picked up on this
"It's tough to identify where it originated," Powell said. "But
my wife uses that in her yoga classes. It's almost like a
shortened version of the (Serenity Prayer) - you control the
things you can control and let go of those things you cannot
control and move on from there."
We mentioned our theory that it's just another way of saying,
"I've got nothing to say."
"It is a way of avoiding answers," Powell said. "In a
sense, they're saying nothing. It's another way of saying no
comment, or I can't change things - what's the next question?"
Maybe we're just defensive. From the moment sports reporters get
their first spiral notebook, they are taught to avoid writing
However, Powell thinks we should let them fly. They're sort of
the universal language of sports.
"There would be a lot of dead air on the airwaves if
broadcasters didn't use them," he said. "I call them a secret
handshake of sports. If somebody is sitting at the bar watching
a game and says the quarterback threw up a wounded duck, a
sports fan sitting next to him knows exactly what that means.
"Psychologically, familiarity breeds comfort. I first heard some
of these clichés sitting on my father's lap listening to Yankees
We still think Powell should give our go-to guy, Somers, some
credit, but the ball's in his court.