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players to each other and compare their performances to what we know we
are capable of doing. If they’re well-paid pros, we obviously expect them to
do better than we would!
One of the most interesting things about sports-related words is how
many of them are applicable in other parts of our lives. Here, you’ll ﬁnd many
sports words used every day in other arenas. (Note that arena can be deﬁned
as a sports ﬁeld and as a place where events unfold). When we use sports
words to describe other ideas, we’re using them as metaphors. As you read
the list, note how often the words work off the ﬁeld as well as on. Write down
other sports words that come to mind, and be sure to look them up in a dictio-
nary if you’re not sure about their exact meanings.
TIP: A metaphor is a word or phrase used to describe similarity
between two things without using like or as. For example, Tom is a
tiger on the field suggests that Tom is fast and ferocious, like a tiger.
WORDS FROM THE WORLD OF SPORTS
1. aerobic. Something or someone that utilizes oxygen in order to
live. The coach required all his players to do at least one hour a day of
2. calisthenics. Gymnastic exercises that are usually performed
with little or no special apparatus. Every morning our homeroom
teacher requires us to do ﬁve minutes of calisthenics in order to wake
3. decathlon. An athletic contest comprising ten different track-
and-ﬁeld events and won by the contestant amassing the high-
est total score. (Note the spelling of this word; it is easy to add
an extra, unwanted syllable to it and pronounce it de-cath-A-
lon, which is incorrect.) Customarily, men compete more frequently
in decathlons than women do, but slowly, that’s beginning to change.
4. draft. Outside sports, this word can mean a preliminary draw-
ing or document, such as the ﬁrst draft of a book; it can also
mean a path of air, such as in a chimney. In sports, a draft is the
selection of new players by a professional team, from a group
of amateur players. The student council drafted its treasurer to be
in charge of purchasing decorations for the Halloween party.