Don’t Bring Your “A” Game


Recently, cliche has been the foremost adjective that is attached to the questions and quotes that are spewed out across the stratosphere of sports. Simply put, a stodgy question asked by a reporter is usually answered with a somewhat monotonous motto from the player. In a job field that should reek with creativity, the questions that are asked by the multi-million dollar reporters are—oddly enough—banal, to say the least. Without a drop of ingenuity ingrained in the questions, most players universally answer with bland statements such as the following: “Yeah, nothing comes easy in this league, but our team dives for all the loose balls because we want to win very badly. We just seem to find a way to come out with the victory.” I would certainly hope that nothing comes easy in the highest levels of the sporting kingdom! “I just want to thank God” ….. For making a 6’8, 220 pound, small forward that can tear the rim down like a raging monster (it is not that God should not be apart of sports, it is just difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that God has fifty bucks placed in favor of the Lakers over the Rockets).

Ever since social media platforms erupted like a blazing wildfire, the athletic community has manifested into a popularity contest for the ages. Absolutely no one wants to be pinned on the bulletin board for ESPN as a media target, and no one else would prefer to be negatively headlined as a topic on First Take or other sports shows, so they instead decide to reduce the manifestation of their opinions and shrink the possibilities of bad publicity. In other words, a large assortment of professional athletes can be seen acting as if they are a dog on a restrictive leash.  This lack of transparency has somewhat separated the average joe from the quintessential, superstar athlete; a lack of transparency equals a lack of personal connection. 

Along with players and reporters, commentators also prove to be the main culprit behind the cliche epidemic; however, commentators more or less utilize cliches on a much greater scale. For instance, the certain phrase “they brought their A-game” has monopolized every color commentator’s vocabulary for the past decades, and “they have unbelievable chemistry” is just as hackneyed too. The sad truth is that—without these sentence fillers—most commentators in the business would have to alter their scripts throughout each game.  

 As can be seen, cliches have become such a vital source of material for players, reporters, and commentators. Without the eradication of them, the sports reporting society and its sources have a chance of suppressing the unique personalities that are patiently waiting outside their doors for their authentic chance to have their voice heard by SportsCenter.

This column is not a call for action. It is instead a call for a renovated dialogue in sports. I don’t expect players, reporters, or commentators to open up their closed-off facades and spill every single thought in their minds. I do, though, forecast an environment that breeds an unprecedented, colorful way of thinking. Personally, the endless amount of cliches and buzzwords have drained all of the patience from my body. Just because a cliche is safe, does not mean it is a productive element of communication.