Sports interviews are sometimes as entertaining as the game that was just played. Put a camera and a microphone in front of noted big mouths like Terrell Owens or Sean Avery and you'll always get a good quote. There are guys out there in every sport that are a great quote, Muhammad Ali being the greatest ever. He always had something original and fresh to say while continually pumping his own tires of course. Players have done so many interviews that it can become tiresome to a player of any sport. If something historic happens then there is something to talk about. On the other hand, a night where two mediocre teams are playing each other in the dog days of a long season and a player has to answer inane questions like “how did it feel out there tonight?,” might not yield the best quotes. Nights like that are when the clichés come flying out of the mouths of players as if they had trained for those as much as for the sport that they are playing.
With TV and media becoming more and more involved in sport, the interviews are offering less and less in entertainment value. In the “good old days,” people would tune into a certain channel because they knew that their favorite player was going to give an interview at that time or they would hype up an interview for after the game to get to you to watch the whole broadcast. Now, there are broadcasters standing between the benches in hockey games, there are reporters standing on every side of the field in football and what is worse, these members of the media go interview coaches and players WHILE the game is going on! Just think of what Mike Ditka or Scotty Bowman would have told Pam Oliver or Pierre McGuire had they tried to ask them questions in the heat of the battle. It would have surely been an onslaught of obscenities which would be amazing as opposed to the constant barrage of clichés we hear from sports figures today. The oversaturation of the media really brings them out because the player and the analyst both know that there is a very good chance that no one is even watching it.
5 We Have to Give 100% Out There
This is a personal favorite. When athletes say this, what are we supposed to think? Oh, maybe on some nights he, or the team, doesn’t give 100%? Give me a break, you and every one of your teammates have trained your entire lives to get to this level, to be in these games, which is not to say that some guys don’t give it their all but chances are very high that 100% is what is being given. The saying itself has become such a cliché that it barely means anything anymore. Ever say a word over and over again and realize it means absolutely nothing? That is what giving 100% has become, something a player says because he knows he should and because for some odd reason, it does not seem to be implied in the nature of a sporting event.
The saying is so lame that one day someone decided to say that they had to give it 110%. At least I didn’t only give 100%! In reality, the only downfall of this saying is the fact that it is overused when it really does not even need to be specified. You’re an athlete, if you are not giving 100% someone WILL notice and you WILL be out of a job. You can bet on that 100% of the time... Okay, maybe 95%.
4 That’s a Great Team Over There
This cliché usually comes in the form of flattery when in reality the tone is slightly mocking. For example, when a powerhouse of the league is taken to overtime by a perennial basement dweller, there will always be the one player on the powerhouse team, win or lose, who will say something about how great the team they just played is. In reality, from where the rest of us are sitting, the bottom feeder team had a great game or were oddly motivated for THAT game and came out on top or made it tough. Now, there is no choice but to give them credit where credit is due, on that night. But that night alone is where the credit is due. It is in fact a little insulting to say that a team is great when, clearly, according to the standings they are NOT. Just because they took you to overtime or gave you a run for your money on one night does not change the fact that a bad team is bad.
The flattery is usually well intended by the champions of the game but the subtle underlying insult is very prevalent. When the lower team comes out on top in a scenario like this, there is the same credit given to the powerhouse team in a post game interview. That is what makes this cliché overused and downright useless. And in that case it can usually be taken as a backhanded insult. Like if David said " Sure he was huge but, you know?" Another reason this cliché is pointless is that these teams are playing in the top leagues in the world, it is supposed to be a given that every team is great, right? Or every team owner would like to imagine so.
3 It is What it is
The ultimate excuse without giving a reason for the excuse. It is what it is! Oh! Is it? Is it really? Then what is IT? Were you guys just bad tonight? Did you not give it 100%? Do you kind of want to blame one player but not want to mention names? That last one would be the ultimate insult, if players actually spoke up about teammates. They cannot and as fans we have to understand that fact and live with it.
This line is the cover up to any mistake: it can literally cover up anything from bad coaching to terrible playing. The greatest part about this cliché is the fact that anyone watching the interview can always tell pretty much what the player wants to say before he blurts out the automated response. There will always be a subtle hint as to what he is covering up right before he says it. Almost as if he realizes he is talking and going down the wrong road with an answer and then says “you know, it is what it is.”
For example, “the coach has a tough job to do but you know, it is what it is.” The player clearly wants to blame the coach for whatever happened but cannot throw his coach under the bus. Understandable, of course, but can we not be such babies anymore? In the world of twitter and everything going viral immediately, let the athletes actually say what they are thinking. It’ll go viral for 19 seconds before the next guy says something that he should not have. Instead, well, it is what it is, and this is what we get.
2 We Didn’t Get the Bounces
Oh the bounces! The luck of every sport that swings the game your way. Not the talent of course, as talent does not have anything to do with it if you get the bounces. Or so athletes will have you believe (and only if they lose). When a team wins, they do not seem to credit the bounces as much as the bounces take it on the chin when a team loses. A guy will always say: "well, the ball wasn’t bouncing our way” after a loss. The reason you trained your whole life is so that you can MAKE the bounce go your way. You are supposed to be in control of it. It is your ball (or puck) and you tell it where to go.
Fine, there is no denying luck in winning. It is there, it happens and players use it. Some have even credited it in the past, which is a credit to them. It is just a funny cliché to hear over and over again about how the unluckiness of a team drew into the final outcome of the game. If you think about it, it is ludicrous, but so is dressing one way, not shaving during the playoffs or wearing your lucky underwear. Luck in sports is here to stay, so I guess we better bounce with the path of the ball and go with it.
1 We Left it All Out There
Win or lose, a player will always say that they left it all out there, especially in an emotional game like a rivalry game or a playoff game, for instance. It goes hand in hand with the giving 100% cliché, but it is always in retrospect, which is what makes it entertaining as a cliché. Meaning, if you left it all out there, you probably should not have anything left to do this interview, right? That is just a joke, but you understand the point.
What makes it more entertaining is when we analyze what IT is? Athletes always seem to use the word IT to describe what has happened. What is it that they left out there? Effort? Talent? Spirit? When you think of the saying it does not seem to mean much, but in sports it has that hidden idea behind it that it does mean something. That the team or athlete expended so much energy that they have nothing left. That is why the retrospect aspect is amusing. An athlete should have known before the game that he was going to leave everything out there. Saying it after the game kind of makes it sound like an excuse in a loss.
We left it all out there...but, they were better. Or maybe they left MORE out there than you did. More what? Again, this is the question. In a win on the other hand, it just makes it sound like you did everything you were supposed to do to win, in which case; why are you telling us this? The emotion of a game cannot be overlooked and many times this cliché is used in a case like that, however, it then makes sports seem like, whoever left the most emotion out there has a very good chance of winning. Hustle and heart can give a team a boost and certainly lead to a victory, but leaving it all out there should not be credited to winning a game. At some point, talent helped a little.