The Devil’s Sports Dictionary (Abridged)

With apologies to Ambrose Bierce.

arena (n.) – a palatial structure beloved in part for its displays of human athleticism, but mostly for its $5 Dasani

boo (v.) – a low braying noise one makes when one is unable to play any sport skillfully

Canseco (v.) – to err egregiously

“I can’t watch the Little League World Series, because those kids Canseco even the easiest popups.”

draft pick (n.) – a form of currency that is often thought to be worth one Peyton Manning, but is more often worth one Cade McNown

ESPY (n.) – a statuette proudly displayed by an athlete in his or her wastebasket

Formula I (n.) – a fictitious auto-racing league popularized in the 2006 film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

gritty (adj.) – light-skinned, in commentator parlance

hockey (n.) –  a sport that has been used to determine the Canadian Prime Minister since the early 20th century. Played almost entirely by gritty athletes. See also: frozen soccer

iPhone (n.) – a portable audiovisual device frequently taken to New York Knicks games, so as to make them entertaining

JR Smith (n.) – NBA three-point specialist, and 48th President of the United States

“JR Smith will go down as the greatest basketball player of a generation.” – JR Smith

K-Zone (n.) – a subversive whistleblower who is #1 on the World Umpires Association’s most-wanted list

legend (n.) – any athlete who has sustained an above-average level of performance in his or her sport for at least one week

marry (v.) – to formally adopt a life partner based on compatibility of preferred sports teams

nascent (adj.) – newly born

“The United States’ nascent interest in women’s soccer has an estimated life expectancy of three weeks.”

Orlando Magic (n.) – a professional basketball franchise designed to entertain tourists between trips to tee-shirt shops and Outback Steakhouse

punter (n.) – regional slang meaning either an overpaid layabout with nothing to contribute (in Boston), or a toilsome laborer who must continually clean up others’ messes with little recognition or financial benefit (in Jacksonville)

Ray Rice (n.) – Star of 2014’s most widely seen and controversial cinema verite film

streaky (adj.) – a word used by commentators to describe an athlete when said commentators do not know any other words that could be used to describe that athlete. See also: mentally tough, explosive

time out (n.) – a period during which an athletic competition is suspended, and important topics, such as strategy, substitution, and favorite “Empire” episodes, are discussed

utilityman (n.) – a baseball roster position filled by former batboys who begged their way onto the team

Vinsanity (n.) – a brief period at the turn of the 21st century, during which people watched Canadian basketball and thought Sugar Ray was a great band

Washington Nationals (n.) – a professional president-racing franchise that also plays baseball occasionally

XFL (n.) – a professional football league, known most prominently as the home of “America’s Team,” the Memphis Maniax

young guy (n.) – any athlete who started his or her professional career during one’s lifetime

“That Peyton Manning, I remember when he got drafted. He’s still a young guy. That wasn’t too long ago.”

Zimbabwe (n.) – a country whose expectations for every international sporting event are “we’re just happy to be playing”

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