Know Your Cliches and Stop Using Them

Posted on March 26, 2012


Cliche's are fine for athletes (even fake ones) not for announcers.

There’s a great scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where Crash Davis, the veteran catcher played by Kevin Costner, teaches Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, the rookie pitcher played by Tim Robbins, about the importance of knowing your clichés.

The lesson includes the importance of phrases like, “We gotta play em one day at a time,” and “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ball club.”

Davis’ lesson about how to use cliché’s is valuable… for athletes who don’t speak for a living.

Paid announcers and hosts should know better!

For example, here’s a tip for anyone who announces basketball games: When a player makes a shot but is fouled in the act and gets to shoot a free throw IT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT to call it an “old-fashioned three-point play.”

It’s not in the announcer’s handbook, it’s not in the U.S. constitution, as a matter of fact, it’s downright annoying and worse yet it’s lazy.

Don’t be fooled, this epidemic is not limited to sports. I hear cliché’s all the time on the radio, in podcasts and during business presentation. Odds are you are not immune.

Consider how you tease into and out of spots, news or other programming elements. I’ll bet somewhere in there you have a standard phrase that you rely on time after time. I’ll also bet your listeners can mimic it and use it when they are making fun of announcers.