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Caught on the Web: An occasional look at Web sites worth sports fans' time

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

By Seth Rorabaugh, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

This might seem like rehashing of a subject explored only a few days ago, but it also seemed appropriate, considering the idea of sports cliches has never sounded more idiotic than after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

After watching a 757 jet slam into a building that belittled the tallest structures in Pittsburgh, we should never again refer to Steelers-Browns or Pitt-Penn State as wars. They are games.

Webster's dictionary defines game as fun or sport. The definition of war is open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations. To proclaim that something such as the NHL playoffs or an AFC divisional matchup is war, is just stupid.

A football game isn't won "in the trenches," and neither Steve Atwater nor Jack Tatum ever "murdered" a receiver coming across the middle.

Which brings us to http://www.sportscliche.com/, a site the points out how so many of us abuse the English language on a daily basis when talking about sports. A site that brings a lot to the table. (Sorry).

What's there: There is nothing fantastic or special about the visual appearance of the page. There's nothing fancy about its approach; it's a blue-collar site that gets its uniform dirty.

The beauty of this site is its content. There are 20 categories from which to choose. Anything from thoughts often heard in a winning team's locker room ("Everyone counted us out before the season started"), to idioms from a playoff run ("They control their own destiny").

A John Elway section is available for those who believe Steve Sewell, or either of the Widell brothers, Dave and Doug, were the glue that held together those Broncos of the 1980s.

You can tell those running this site came through in the clutch by featuring a quotable section with these nuggets of original thoughts:

"We have to leave it all on the ice." -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer, on facing playoff elimination in May 2000.

"He made a mistake and he's learned from it. He's turning a negative into a positive." -- Kevin Poston, agent for Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson speaking of his client's drivers license, which was suspended for drunken driving.

There also is a quiz for those willing to challenge their knowledge on the language of sports.

Upon further review: The site is full of these interchangeable statements, but some beg the question of who actually made the submissions. It is littered with supposed cliches, some of which don't make much sense.

Overall: For its fantastic satire alone, http://www.sportscliche.com/ is worth a visit. So many of the cliches are ingrained into the language of the games we love. This high-octane site has raised the bar and set the standard. But more important, it has a lot of depth, which will allow it to go the distance. It's a site of destiny.


out of 5 stars

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