Trite Cyclist Sayings
“The Pain Cave.” “Burned all his matches.” “The rubber band snapped.”
Some of the best (and worst) phrases in sport have been worn out, ground down, and bleached of all color by overuse. And it saddens me.
You hear these phrases everywhere – in blogs, on Facebook, from the mouths of announcers.
And fair enough. Some of these people are professionals(or wannabes) who are frequently called upon to comment. It’s not surprising that they rely on familiar turns of phrase to describe what happened.
But members of the media, announcers, and fans need to put these phrases out to pasture after they stop secreting deliciously fresh, warm mind milk.
When a clever, expressive phrase becomes overused into a boring simulacra that just takes over for the original meaning rather than connect two unfamiliar neurons, it is time to go back to the drawing board.
“It was pissing rain all race. Racer Y attacked and went deep into the pain cave, but burned all his matches in the end and was caught by racer X. Racer X pipped Racer Y at the line. With this race in the books, Racer X said, “I’m so happy. My team was great. I want to thank my sponsors.”
“The pain cave”
We were all so far and so deep in “the pain cave” that one time at that one race ten years ago. Then we were in “the pain cave” again – at some other race.
According to the race announcers, we (Dave Towle voice) “could fill out a change of address form” because “the pain cave” was our “new permanent residence” another time.
We went to “the pain cave” again. And again. We kept going.
But the chilling darkness of the cave lost its entrancing hold after time. What was once a deep, cold cranny of granite-walled loneliness far below the Earth’s surface took on the chintzy feel of the set of an elementary school play with grey paint, foam padding, and cardboard clearly visible around the edges.
What once described the interminable ache of Sisyphus pushing his ball up his hill has now become a way of describing any time our heart rates went above 150bpm for more than five minutes.
Do you smell something stale coming from “the pain cave?”
Ah, my mistake. That’s just the smell of mold growing on our imaginations.
“In the Books”
No one can even remember how to say that they “completed a race.” They only seems capable of thinking of a completed race as being “in the books.”
(e.g. “the Colorado State Cat. 4 Criterium Championships is in the books. I got 14th. It was the culmination of a season fraught with bad luck. It all started back in January whan…”)
Why not “in the blogs?!”
It no longer simply “rains” on a cyclist. Anything, the slightest drizzle, is now “pissing rain.”
I really think that cyclists forgot what pissing is and what a stream of urine looks like, and what the implication of rain “pissing” down from some sort of heavenly fallus is – as opposed to simply “raining.” I seriously think that some cyclists now believe that “pissing rain” is what you say is happening when liquid precipitation is ocurring. You hear it all the time here in Portland, but it’s almost always inaccurate. Though it rains practically every day this time of year, it very rarely rains hard.
Maybe Portlanders need to start saying it was “sweating rain,” it was “secreting rain.” Or say simply that it was raining.
I know those phrases don’t sound as bad-ass. But strangling all originality and expression out of a trite phrase by tweeting or blogging about how it was “pissing rain” on you doesn’t sound that bad-ass either.
“Winner winner chicken dinner”
“Winner. Winner. Chicken. Dinner?”
Seriously, dudes. Back to the drawing board.
“Burning all our matches”
“Burning all our matches” is a phrase that I found delightfully clever when I first heard it – years ago (and I’m a latecomer).
Then I heard it again. And again. I realized it was likely not invented by our local race announcer, nor by my collegiate cycling teammate.
We remember the brilliant fire this phrase once lit within us. But like that last match that you’ve scratched over and over against the only rock you can find until that ball of flammable red stuff turned into tiny corners of red that could never possibly spark that stick alight – you know it will never spark the same flame. But it’s your last match, and maybe you can’t think of any other way.
This phrase burned like a bright light of wonder for a very short time long ago. But it has “burned all its matches” as a meaningful, innovative metaphor.
It’s time to “get some new matches,” cyclists. Or a flint. Or a laser.
“Shot all his lasers.” “Used all his propane.” “Shot off all her dynamite.” “Used all his food stamps.” “Burned all his firewood.” “Ran out of coal.” “Ran the tugboat ashore.” “tapped the keg.” “cached the bowl.” “Exhausted his glycogen stores.”
Surely there are other options!!!!!!!!!!!
Please comment with additional trite sayings or innovative solutions!