The language of sport’s a funny old game

There’s something about the language of sport. It seems to exist in its own little bubble.

For a start, they use old-fashioned idioms that no longer make sense in the real world. Where else, for example, would you hear about people who are over the moon, at sixes and sevens or setting out their stall? On the whole, purveyors of sports talk bombard us with clichés then waffle endlessly about trivia and stats.

But sometimes you get exceptions that make enduring the dirge worthwhile.

Stuart Hall was a football commentator whose descriptions painted striking pictures. But he wasn’t alone; sporting history is littered with poetry, comedy and storytelling. (Muhammad Ali did all three.)

This podcast from BBC Sport’s Tim Franks is a lovely little tribute to the language of sport. He looks at how interesting language can elevate even the most pointless pursuits to epic proportions.

Listen out for an Alan Partidge-esque appearance from Eric Morecambe at 4.57.


3 minutes, 28 seconds read

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on Jan 14, 2011

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