Stop With The Clichés Already

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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We live in a world inundated with sports clichés.

In fact, Dr. Don Powell has published a book called "Best Sports Clichés Ever!" In the humble opinion of "Around the Rim," there's no such thing as a good sports cliché, much less a best sports cliché.

For the record, Powell includes such stinkers as:

"There's still a lot of time left."

"We wanted it more."

"The best team won."

"That was an ugly win."

"It was a total team effort."

"It doesn't get any better."

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

"We beat ourselves."

"It just wasn't our day."

Unfortunately, everybody uses sports clichés, even people who live in the Rim country.

For example:

"We just have to suck it up and move on." (Prehistoric people after the last big drought dried things up.)

"I hung in there." (A hiker who fell off the Rim but was saved when he landed in a tree.)

"We needed this one." (Disappointed Public Works Director Buzz Walker as he watched a monsoon storm pass us by.)

"They took it to us." (Mayor Barbara Brewer explaining how Salt River Project brought water from Blue Ridge Reservoir to Payson.)

"They pretty much had their way with us." (Gila County taxpayer after receiving his tax bill and seeing how much his property value increased.)

Apparently the hottest sports cliché going today is a variation of the infamous line Bill Clinton used to fudge his transgressions away: "That depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is' is."

Today, when an athlete doesn't want to deal with something, he says, "It is what it is."

That's how Kobe Bryant described his feud with Karl Malone, and it was Reggie Miller's comment about the big basketbrawl in Detroit.

According to Powell, "It is what it is" is another way of saying, "No comment," or, "I can't change things." He says his wife uses it in her yoga classes as a substitute for the "Serenity Prayer" -- in the sense that you control what you can control and let the rest go.

Unfortunately, overuse of the expression is filtering down to our children and elected officials -- even here in the Rim country. In fact, here are some conversations that "Around the Rim" has actually overheard:

PAYSON MOM: "What is this "F" on your report card, Bubba? You told me you were passing your math class."

LITTLE BUBBA: "It is what it is."

PAYSON TAXPAYER: "But you said you were against new taxes and that you would find a way to fix our streets if we elected you."

ELECTED OFFICIAL: "It is what it is."

GILA COUNTY JUDGE: "You agreed to apologize to these people for your behavior. Do you really expect me to consider this an apology?"

FORMER MAYOR: "It is what it is."

And while we're on the subject of sports, here are a few personal observations that do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this newspaper.

  • Remember the fit that was raised some years ago when a network cut away from an NFL game to show "Heidi"? Can you believe we didn't get to see our Payson Community Kids on the "Montel Williams Show" because of an NFL game? Who besides Roundup employee, Darkroom Dave, watches Packers games anyway? And the Vikings? Aren't they the guys who go running through the department store if you pull out the credit card with the high interest rates?
  • To those who remember me saying a few columns ago that the Cardinals always go 4-12 no matter who their coach is, my apologies. They went 6-10 this year. But you can chisel this in stone: They aren't ever going to the playoffs. All their slightly improved record will accomplish is to tease their few remaining season ticket holders into renewing.
  • Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson can stuff his $10 million-plus a year and go play with all the pampered brats in the Evil Empire. Who needs that kind of attitude on the team.
  • "Around the Rim" is no fan of former Cards big mouth Simeon Rice, but wasn't it refreshing that somebody -- anybody -- finally had to courage not to fawn over Pat Tillman? Sure he was a hero, but no moreso than my father who gave up a job every bit as important to his family to go fight for his country. The fact that my dad only lost an arm, while Tillman lost his life proves that war, like baseball, is "a game of inches." The last thing Pat Tillman would have wanted was to become what the sports world has turned him into -- the ultimate cliché.

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