It’s Time for Another Episode of “Explain That Cliché!”

Published on 04-Mar-2014 by Andy ForWhatItsWorth
Basketball - NCAA Mens / NCAA Basketball Daily Opinion

So glad we took it one game at a time!

Let’s face it – as sports fans, we all love to mock, ridicule and tease the classic clichés we always hear and the people that use them (as much as we ourselves use them). But the simple truth is there is a use for them. A need. The uses and needs are as various and diverse as the clichés themselves.

One of my favorites is, “We’re just gonna take it one game (or day) at a time.”

We especially hear this now, around the time where college basketball teams are struggling to beef up their résumé for the NCAA tournament. But let’s face it, we hear this in every sport whenever the season is winding down and teams need to, well, take it one game at a time.

Let’s first discuss what the heck it means. Basically, there are 30-35 games in a college basketball season, and you really don’t get to play three games at a time, so you might as well play one at a time. Okay, I'm being pedantic. Accurate, though.

In a more subtextual way, the cliché is akin to someone saying “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” The simple idea is, as you’re playing or preparing for Game X, only think about Game X.  Because if you suddenly start to worry about how Games Y and Z also have to fall into place, take a wild guess what’s going to happen to Game X. Hellooo, crapper!

I can’t decide which I find more enjoyable (and by “enjoyable”, I mean “annoying”): the cliché itself or the mockery of the cliché. 

How else is someone – coach or player – supposed to get that point across without saying, “Well, see, since we’re not playing those other games yet, we don’t really want to worry about them. Because we know if we do, it’ll take our focus off this game that’s actually coming up tomorrow night.”

And once the cliché is uttered or moreover played back, the glib sports announcer mocks the answerer for resorting to a tried and true cliché – yet that glib sports announcer was probably the very one who triggered it with his inane question!

Clichés. They’re not so bad … once you get to know them.

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