Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

A Good Sport

There was a time when I shunned everything to do with sports. Not that I didn’t ride my bike and even treadmill (v. i.) fairly regularly.

What I disliked was the pesky winner/loser aspect, especially where kids were involved. Because winning was so important, to the coaches and parents if not the kids themselves, some kids were left out. So, what was all the lip service to “they learn teamwork” if only the athletically endowed could profit? Didn’t kids with lame arms or poor eyesight also deserve to learn teamwork?

In the image of Luks’s painting, doesn’t it look like the boy isn’t at all interested in the baseball?

Boy with Baseball by George Luks, c. 1925, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Edward Joseph Gallagher, Jr., 1954

I’ve had a hard time avoiding sports metaphors, but I’ve succeeded on the whole.

Then the New York Times came out with a special article on the history of sports phrases and suddenly it feels very scholarly to say “That’s not in my wheelhouse.” *

You can read the complete article, but here are a couple of my favorites.

Talk about scholarly, how about this first one, from Shakespeare:

1. There’s the rub.

When Hamlet says, “To sleep — perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub!” he’s talking about something that’s difficult. “The rub” is from lawn bowling, and refers to an unevenness in the playing surface. Or so they say.

2. Out of left field.

Why is left field the spot where kooky ideas come from? Why not right or center? Well, no one is too sure, but there are a couple of fascinating theories—left field was often deeper than right in early baseball stadiums; weaker fielders were put in on the left; and left fielders tended to play farther back.

* Wheelhouse comes from baseball. It’s the area in which a batter feels most comfortable hitting the ball.

Here’s a closing image:

From the Girl Baseball Players series for Virginia Brights Cigarettes, Metropolitan Museum of Art, issued 1886, Gift of Jefferson R. Burdick

OR, Girls also want to have fun.