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Today's Word



Sep 4, 2017
This week’s theme
Terms from ball games

This week’s words
Monday morning quarterback
slam dunk
bush league
spin doctor

Shoulda Woulda Coulda
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with Anu Garg

Three years ago, our local football team here in Seattle won the NFL championship. Leading up to the Super Bowl game and afterward was an orgy of celebration, a non-stop display of team jingoism. Every other car, home, and shop had a “12th Man” banner. Half the population had a T-shirt or a cap with the team logo.

OK, I get it. Pride in the home team and all that. But could we display maybe 1% as much pride when a local author wins a National Book Award or a local scientist wins a Nobel prize?

When was the last time we had a parade for them, or for so many who contribute so much to make this world a better place: teachers, librarians, researchers, scientists, authors, poets, and others.

If I had my way, I’d make a teacher’s salary on par with a football coach’s salary, at least in public institutions. You want to pay the football coach more, sure, go ahead, as long as those who teach also get a pay raise. Why not? Whether you’re a football fan or not, you’d surely agree that teachers make a bigger contribution in this world.

Whether you are a football fan or not, at least it has given us colorful terms in the English language. This week we see five words from football, basketball, baseball, cricket, and other ball games.

Monday morning quarterback

(MUHN-day MOR-ning KWOR-tuhr-bak)

noun: One who criticizes others’ actions and offers alternatives with the benefit of hindsight.

In the US, professional football games are often played on Sundays. A quarterback in a football game is a player who directs the offensive play of the team. The term alludes to a person offering an alternative course of action after the fact, perhaps on a Monday morning around the office water cooler. Earliest documented use: 1930.

“With every major snowstorm comes the inevitable Monday morning quarterbacks and the ultimate question: What could Buffalo have done better?”
Phil Fairbanks; Socked But Plowing On; The Buffalo News (New York); Dec 29, 2001.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy. -Ivan Illich, philosopher and priest (4 Sep 1926-2002)

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