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Out of Bounds: War games

Sports language of conflict seems inappropriate in a time of war

by Baxter Cepeda, News editor


While coalition forces continue operations in Iraq, some say it is improper for sports to use war terms.

Meanwhile every media source has a retired military “expert” analyzing the action like John Madden.

Kim Fukumoto
War and sports are inevitably related—both are conflict and competition, but one is violence and disruption, the other precision, control, and discipline.
Precision and discipline—what we saw around the clock as the coalition forces stormed, with pin-point air support, to Baghdad.

If the real world demands the terminology of sports, why has it become taboo to talk sports using the conventional lingo of war?

The terminology is very much the same, so what is one to do when describing sports actions that require war terminology? Here’s a list of these war terms and “acceptable” possible alternatives:

Since Coalition Forces had to enter Iraq’s “Red-Zone,” football teams now enter the almost there zone.

That team can no longer get to the almost there zone with a bomb; no, they must make a really long pass.

In baseball, a strike would only remind us of explosions and a lot of sand, so it will now be called a successful pitch.

No longer can baseballs get hit like bullets; a really hard and straight hit is the term now.

Teams can no longer battle out there; there’s no battling allowed in sports. They’re playing really hard out there.

No fighting until the end, either; it’s playing hard until the end now.

Definitely forget about games being described as “a war.”

Oh—and Sea Warrior fans, better report to the think tank that a new name is in order.

Where does it end? What if it just sounds similar. Can hoopsters no longer juke because it sounds like nuke? They’ll just have to move from side to side and past their opponents.

What about outside of war? Can sports fans no longer get their fix, because it reminds us of drug problems?

The point should be clear—this is silly. To even think of complaining about this, during war time no less, is ridiculous.

Fortunately, the movement against improperly used war terms in sports does not have a poster person like Martha Burke, the head of the National Women’s Organization, whose 15 minutes of fame practically ended April 15 when 40 people attended her protest against Augusta National Golf Clubs all-male membership.

There is a lesson to be learned from Miss Burke—other than protests held to get the attention of Masters fans should not occur during the Masters. The majority of Americans don’t have time for silliness of this kind, especially during war.

Things are happening out there. People are dying. Let’s focus on that.

When we tune into sports—it’s an escape. Sports are fun. Controversies and sports do not go together, unless its over a last second shot, two guys holding a home run record-breaking ball at the same time, or anything that could jeopardize the integrity of the games.

And no one wants to hear those alternatives listed above—not even their creator.




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