Because I know you’re just dying for one of these glamour jobs in the media, I will now coach you on how to talk.
If traffic reporting is your goal, learn to pronounce the phrase, “Police are ‘working’ an accident.” Never mind that it’s the silliest thing you’ve ever said.
No one “works” an accident, any more than one “works” a porcupine, but it makes you sound like you’re in touch with important media lingo.
If weather forecasting is your thing, you must develop a menacing tone when warning of “black ice.”
There is, of course, no such thing as black ice. Ice is ice, whether it’s coating the highway or frosting your cocktail. Because ice tends to be transparent and roads tend to be black (especially at night), ice can be hard to see, at least until centrifugal force snags your rear axle and makes it crystal clear.
Because we are at the intersection of hoops and football seasons, you may be thinking about sportscasting.
First, you must pay no attention whatsoever to the proper meaning of words. If you happened to have stayed awake during ninth-grade English, for example, you probably know that a “legend” is a popular myth, a slice of folklore that is largely unverifiable, like Paul Bunyan and Babe, the big blue ox.
Forget all that. If you intend to use proper English, your sports career is doomed.
In sports, anyone who is even vaguely proficient at their job is a legend. If there aren’t at least a dozen legends playing, you have no business covering the game.
In the last month alone, the following people – half of whom I’ve never heard of – have been described as “legends” in the sports section of this newspaper: Ken Squier, Jim Hunter, Dr. Joseph Mattioli (motorsport legends); Cedric Maxwell, Paula Bennett (Atlantic 10 basketball legends); Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin, Rafael Garcia, Mia Hamm, Cobi Jones, Christine Rampone (soccer legends); Bill Forrest (climbing legend); Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight (coaching legends); Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Regan Smith, Kevin Harvick, Ned Jarrett, Dale Jarrett (NASCAR legends); and Jim Brown (football legend).
LeBron James of the Miami Heat, who was in town to whomp on the Bobcats, also made the list by becoming a basketball legend – in high school.
In sports, it is essential to ignore proper usage in favor of hyperbole. This is the mark of the true professional.
Listen carefully during the Super Bowl. If one team takes a big lead, a competent analyst will observe it is key that their opponent “not panic.”
Panic is a thing you do when your hang glider is corkscrewing into a frothing volcano. It is not a thing husky millionaires do when hunched on the sidelines.
Remember not to think too hard. There’s no point in crushing your career before it starts.
Aim high. You, too, could become a legend.
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