Sunday, September 13, 2009

Season of the which?

Quick, what time of year is it downtown?

Michigan's Tate Forcier and Darryl Stonum celebrate Forcier's TD against the Irish. (1D)

They're wearing their hearts on their maize-and-blue sleeves. Some Michigan fans -- in the student section, maybe? -- celebrate a touchdown for the home team during the big 38-34 win over Notre Dame for Rich Rodriguez's Wolverines on Saturday. (2D)

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez and quarterback Tate Forcier celebrate after Forcier scored a touchdown against Notre Dame. (2D)

Wisconsin's Chris Maragos (21) and teammate Michael Harris celebrate Maragos' interception. (4D)

Dejected MSU player Greg Jones walks off the field at Spartan Stadium as CMU players celebrate Andrew Aguila's 42-yard field goal to win the game Saturday. (8D).

Not-quite-relatedly, further evidence that sports language has stood another verb on its ear, from the same section: "Paris Cotton catches a TD pass with 32 seconds left to put the Chippewas within one, 27-26. Defending him is MSU's Eric Gordon."

I haven't been keeping a file on this one (and not being Safire, I don't think it's a sign that the widening gyre* is getting even wider), but "defend" = "play defense against" seems pretty close to becoming standard on the sports pages. It sort of resembles a usage the OED calls obsolete, as in Holinshed's "Which walles greatlie defended the fire from spreading further." I don't like it, and I'd go to some lengths to keep it off my own pages, but language has a habit of not asking my permission to change.

"Celebrate," on the other hand, is just tedious. Please cut it out.

* Did you try the Polish sausage at the State Fair? The wurst are full of passionate intensity. Thanks, I'll be here all week.



Blogger Brian Cubbison said...

I'm thinking of switching to "jubilate." Do you have a better alternative?

3:16 PM, September 13, 2009  

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