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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Burst This Bubble

Spring is around the corner. There's no question about it, because aside from pitchers and catchers reporting and Punxsutawney Phil not caring whether he sees his shadow, the surest sign of the end of winter has arrived: sportscasters spouting off about "the bubble."

Come mid-February, everyone wants to know the answer to the question, "Who's on the bubble?" I, however, want to know the answer to a different question. Why a bubble?

Where could the expression "bubble" have possible come from? In what way does a bubble represent teams that are on the verge of making the NCAA tournament? A lot of sports metaphors make sense; this one doesn't.

"Five-hole," for example, comes from shooter tutors, which have five holes in them. The corners are numbered 1-4, and the hole between where the goalies' legs would be the fifth hole. Makes sense, right? So does "can of corn," which is an easy fly ball to catch. That comes from old-school grocery stores, where the corn was kept on the top shelf and grocers would knock cans down with a pole. The resulting catch was easy, hence, "can of corn."

Bubble has no obvious connection to the tournament. So it irritates me to no end to hear sportscasters say any of the following:

"Fumbuck State is on the bubble!"

"With that loss, the bubble has burst for the California Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology!"

"It looks like Northern South Dakota A&M State of Yankton will be outside the bubble looking in come tournament time!"

I hate the bubble. It is overused, cliched, trite, you get the idea. The phrase should be placed in a bubble and then stored somewhere safe, where no sportscaster can get to it.

I prefer "dance card." Not used as often, a little classier, and it makes a whole lot more sense than "bubble."

Besides, the Big Dance isn't held in a bubble.


Yes, I mailed in the column today. Sue me. Here's what you have to look forward to as a reward for putting up with me, though.

Eventually, I'll be writing a column on Barry Bonds and the whole steroid issue. I crunched some numbers and found some very interesting correlations between playing weight and HR.

Also, stay tuned for the relaunch of www.justoffcamera.com, when this site moves out of the Geocities world.


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