Posted at 1 p.m. April 3, 2017

What is this sportball thing?

Non-sports fan guesses definitions for sports terminology

Flag Raising

I never grew up around family members interested in sports. Because of this, when I was in public school, I had no interest in participating in sports. Now, here I am in college, and the only sports games I’ve ever watched are bits and pieces of basketball games.

Throughout my life, I’ve heard people use well-known sports terms in their everyday vocabulary. I never say it, but I always find myself wondering, “what did that mean?” So, I decided I’d give a shot at guessing the definitions of various sports terms.

Drop the gloves:

This is a boxing term in which the boxers finally get fed up with the match and think to themselves, “screw the rules.” They take their gloves off, throw them out of the ring and proceed to go all-out, Fists of Fury style. The referee can try to stop them, but to no avail; it is now a fight to the death.

Block and tackle:

This is another rather self-explanatory boxing term where a boxer will block an incoming jab and counter the attack by tackling the opponent. This move results in an immediate victory.

Hurler on the ditch:

Hurler is just another name for the pitcher in baseball, and so this is a baseball term used when a pitch is so powerful, the hurler finds themselves face-planting into the dirt immediately after the throw. If you’re pitching a ball 90 mph, I won’t judge you if you simply forget to let go of the ball in time.

Early bath:

This is a rarely used hockey term as it doesn’t occur often. An announcer will declare a hockey player as “having gone for an early bath” when the player accidentally breaks the ice beneath them and falls in. The game will immediately be forfeited by the team whose player fell into the ice water.

Under the wire:

A lesser-known rule in golf: After the player makes the swing, the ball cannot reach a higher altitude than the powerlines surrounding the course. When a player hits the ball and it goes too high in the air, it will be declared “over the wire.” The player will have to replay the shot and will lose a stroke.

Hat trick:

A player earns a hat trick when they catch the ball with their hat. This term applies to multiple sports. For example, a baseball catcher may catch the ball in their hat before it hits the ground. The same applies for golfers, basketball players and even football players, given that they catch the football in their helmet. Two hat tricks by one player results in an immediate victory for the game.

Hail Mary:

An alcoholic beverage including vodka and tomato juice; has nothing to do with sports.

Square off:

This is another boxing term where, in the event of a tie, the tie-breaker round consists of each player being given a piece of paper and a pen. The goal is to draw the more symmetrical square. The winner of the square-off wins the entire match.

Full-court press:

This is the state of the basketball court when the game ends and all the journalists and reporters flood the court to ask questions to players and coaches. Once the court is filled with the press, it can be declared as “full-court press.”

Home stretch:

Similar to “flipping houses,” this is a term used only when a player is given advice on how to increase their home’s value. For example, when one player gives this advice to another player, they’ll have given the player a home stretch. We don’t hear this term often from announcers, as it’s hard to tell what players are talking about to each other during the game.

Down for the count:

This football term is used when a player falls down while running with the ball. If another player yells the exact number in yards the player has fallen away from the goal post before they can get up, the player who has fallen is declared “down for the count” and must sit out the rest of the game. This is also a universal term used for players who are fans of the vampire character from Sesame Street.


This term is used if a boxer gets knocked out so hard they become hospitalized. The boxer that throws the punch has performed a layup. The boxer who has been knocked out is then declared “laid up.”

I hope this handy guide helps all of the other non-sports fans out there understand sports terminology better. If you’re wondering if I looked up the definitions of these terms, the answer would be no. I have no need, I’m confident enough in my descriptions.


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