“They’re on fire,” this one’s in the bag,” and “we played our hearts out” are a few commonly used phrases in the sports world. These terms or phrases can also be known as a jargon, which are specific words or lingo used by a particular group. According to Leslie Savan in her article “Black Talk and Pop Culture” she states that today’s language is heavily influenced by what she calls black talk. Words like “yo,” “bro,” and “player” have found their way into today’s culture. Similarly many major sports use jargon but three familiar ones are volleyball, baseball, and basketball.
Bump, set, and spike are the three main components of volleyball. These three words are everyday words for lovers of this sport, but for others, volleyball lingo may be a bit confusing. To bump the ball simply means to pass the ball with one’s feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, and forearms together straight forward. Setting is always the second pass and is an overhead pass by just using one’s fingertips. It is important for the setter to use both hands; otherwise, it is an illegal pass.
Although bumping and setting are important, spiking is by far the most exciting part of the sport. This is when a front row player jumps up and with an open hand slams the ball. The intention of a spike is to return the ball to the opponent’s side with such force that it is difficult to return. Although these words comprise the main terminology, there are also many other sayings used in this sport. “Kill the ball” is often used when referring to a good spike. This phrase could easily be taken the wrong way; someone may think it physically means to murder the ball, but that is not the case. A “free ball” is another example that is said a lot. This term is basically a gift given to the opponent.
Another sport that has a high usage of jargon is baseball. This sport has been around since the 1800’s, yet many people are still unfamiliar with a few of the terms. For instance, a home run does not literally mean to run to your house; it means to hit the ball over the outfield fence or wall, or to make it all the way around the bases and back to home plate. A pop fly can also be misunderstood, but the real definition is when the batter hits the ball high in the air which makes it easier for the defender to catch. The two categories that professional baseball players are placed into are Major League, and Minor League. This has nothing to do with size, age, or looks it strictly has to do with the skill of the player.
As well as volleyball and baseball, basketball also includes the use of many jargons. “He makes the buzzer beater for the win and the crowd goes crazy!” A buzzer beater must be someone who is physically beating some sort of buzzer. This is not the case in the game of a basketball term “buzzer beater” is used when the clock is almost out of time and the player with the ball shoots to try and make it in right before the buzzer goes off. A few other heteronyms are lay-ups, air balls, and traveling. A layup is when an offensive player quickly dribbles the ball down the court and once near the goal attempts at a shot. An air ball is a shot at the goal that is completely missed, and is quit the embarrassing shot. Traveling has multiple different definitions such as traveling in a car, but in the game of basketball it means the player with the ball took a step without dribbling the ball.
In conclusion, I believe it is safe to say that jargons have been commonly used for a long time. New slang is added to society on a daily basis. In Leslie Savan’s article “Black Talk and Pop Culture” she says, “Today, the language of an excluded people is repeated by the nonexcluded in order to make themselves sound more included.”, which I believe is how society views the sports world. Volleyball, baseball, and basketball are three of the many sports that use jargons.
Courtney from Study Moose
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