I’ve got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I’d share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you – Word Origins from Left Field – that’s right, the WOLF. Er… ignore the fact that the “from” doesn’t fit.
Since I’m returning to the gym this week after a month of traveling, I thought I’d dig up some figures of speech that have their roots in sports.
Boxing started out as a prize-fighting at European fairs with no officials. The rules were pretty simple – if you were knocked down or had to be dragged out of the ring due to being unconscious… you lost. Hence a nasty scuffle is called a knock-down drag-out.
Boxing has given us a lot of fun terms, another one being that (once they decided to start using an official of some sort) the presiding person began the fight by dropping their hat to the ground, which told the fighters it was time to start swinging. These days when something unpleasant comes about quickly, it happened at the drop of a hat.
I’ve actually heard that term used more often in reference to someone losing their temper – “He gets mad at the drop of a hat.” And that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
What about our lovely American past time? I found something interesting I wanted to share that I personally suffer from – the lovely malady called a charley horse. Anyone who suffers from these muscle spasms in the legs knows that they hurt like a @#)*3@#$ and kind of leave you wanting to cry in a puddle and possibly pee yourself. But why the heck is a muscle spasm called a charley horse? No one is really sure, but there are a couple of ideas, both originating with baseball.
Pitcher Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourne suffered from these paralyzing leg cramps. He played for the Buffalo Bisons (1880), Providence Grays (1881–1885), Boston Beaneaters (1886–1889), Boston Reds (1890), and Cincinnati Reds (1891). Post MLB Radbourne lost an eye in a hunting accident and then died of syphilis, so it’s safe to say that leg cramps were the least of his concerns.
For some reason I like this story better: In the 1890’s the White Sox of Chicago used a horse named Charley to draw the grass rollers across the field. He suffered from a limp, so the fans called any player afflicted with the spasm (which causes you to limp afterwards) a “Charley Horse.”