Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grammar Break

I’m kinda bit into the World Cup this summer; I’m not going to paint my face or anything, but I’ll probably get up early some mornings to watch soccer and drink beer before 8:00 AM; (I’d like to see the US or Holland win or it would be cool if an African nation like Ghana goes deep in the tournament.)

And I appreciate that the world’s most popular sport has come to America and all, but I’ve got to draw the line at calling it “football,” since, as we know, that term refers to a sport where people get to use their God-given arms as well as their legs, even though there is a lot of standing around, mostly so television advertisers can get their opportunities to try and sell you razor blades, beer, automobiles, pizza, tacos, and free credit reports.

But of course, the worst thing about the rise in popularity of “the beautiful game” is the danger it presents not to the American way of life, but rather, to the American way of speaking, in particular, when it comes to the proper use of plurals in the reporting of sports.

All right thinking people know that the team is a single entity and that therefore, any verb associated with it should use the third-person singular conjugation; thus, for instance, “England HAS not won a World Cup since 1966,” as opposed to the pluralized construction “England HAVE consistently underperformed in the World Cup.”

It would be bad enough if it were only that this latter way of speaking is so inimical to the spirit of shared responsibility upon which success in team sports is predicated, but to make matters worse, the locution is beginning to be employed by speakers here at home—at least among self-styled hardcore “football” fans.

I’d hate to see this trend bleed into our homegrown sports; when I’m cheering against the Yankees, for instance, I want to keep yelling “New York sucks!”


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