Beginning in what our soccer friends call the “technical area”, we take stock of cutting edge trends in LDO (largely drivel oriented) football jargon in AFL match commentary.
While “structures” remains popular, “structuring up” is enshrined as a modern classic, and “transition” is still making a fashionable run as a working substitute for the other two, “gut running” has re-emerged as a genuine candidate for market leader in the last couple of weeks.
Like the others, gut running has connotations of specific meaning, science and inside knowledge to it while making no sense whatsoever.
The “structures” aren’t really structures. “Structuring up” doesn’t mean anything and also doesn’t come within 200km of the English language. And “transition” is a fancy $50 term for either switching from defence to offence, and/or moving the ball in so doing. It seems to change with the speaker.
But they were already doing those things in 1897. And while they undoubtedly do them a lot more quickly and efficiently today, the essence of those activities hasn’t really changed at all.
Calling either of them “transition” doesn’t better inform the listener or provide a refined definition. It’s just a word that apparently sounds slick, official and suavely scientific if you’re a bit of a nurk.
Not to mention folks who are bound and determined to convince you they know plenty about football without otherwise having anything particularly noteworthy to say about it.
Which brings us to “gut running”. What kind of running would that be? Flat out, you’d reckon. But footballers spend all their on-field time every week running around like lunatics until they throw up colourful magic sports-water drinks on national television, that is it’s ALL gut running.
Which pretty much inherently means that none of it is, that is there is nothing specific or definable that is “gut running” as opposed to all the other running, which is also gut running.
Like truckloads of allegedly “technical” terminology hurled about in commentary every week, gut running is devoid of meaning, except as a transparent attempt to tart up some pretty simple ideas as flyblown pseudo-science.
Indeed, if piffle was a world-recognised industry, Australia would be experiencing a whopping footy-led economic boom by now.
Speaking of which, let’s take a squizz at the other main candidate for FootySpeak market leader right now.
Brian Taylor, referring to a set-shot for goal, Essendon v St Kilda, on Triple-M: “This for a 61 point differential.”
That’s what we’ve come to, apparently. The footy blatherers have taken a basic arithmetical function – some primary school kids call it “minussing” – and tried to make it sound like they’re dabbling in particle physics.
They mean “difference”, 61 points the difference.
No doubt swathed in a lab coat and bearing foaming test tubes, one of Taylor’s Triple-M colleagues cited such top-secret scientific projects as “disposal-differential” and “Differential – metres run”.
More minussing with a makeover. Basically, “differential” has spread like the plague, without being quite as enjoyable.
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