Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Opinion

September 11, 2012

What's in a (team) name?

Greensburg — Dear Editor,

Even though we achieved independence from Great Britain two centuries and change back, many Americans still harbor feelings of Anglophilia.

They consider customs "British" or "English" to be superior to those of upstart Americans.

There's a case in point that irks me frequently, since examples are often front and center in newspaper sports pages.

In the English language, as used in the United States, sports teams are referred to in the plural, i.e., the Yankees, the White Sox, the Dodgers, the Colts and so forth all down the line.

In merry old England, sports teams are referred to in the singular. If our American teams were to be transplanted, they would become the Yankee, the White Sock, the Dodger, the Colt, etc.

One American sport, relatively new to the scene, has, for some mysterious reason, elected to use the British form. In that sport, teams have such names as Fever, Dream, Liberty, Heat, Sun, Magic, Shock, Sky and Storm. This leads to some really awkward headlines on American sports pages, to-wit:

"Fever get 4th straight win."

Of course, in standard American, it should read "Fever GETS 4th straight win," or, conversely, "FEVERS get 4th straight win."

It must drive sports writers and editors nuts to be forced to use grammar that is so wrong to American readers.

If you question my thinking, just ask yourself, "Am I a fan of the Indianapolis Colts or the Indianapolis Colt?"

In the U.S., a Colt is one player; in the U.K., Colt means the whole team. I prefer our way.

In closing, I'll mention another example of Anglophilia. I subscribe to several motorcycle magazines. One of them insists upon referring to windshields as "windscreens." Windscreen is the term used in England, but not, except in this one instance, in the United States.

I wrote to the editor of that mag, suggesting they were overcome by unwarranted Anglophilia, but they stoutly, if erroneously, defended their editorial position. My American Heritage Dictionary fully backs my position. (In America, a screen is usually a mesh designed to keep out flies!).

So there you have it. Should American sports teams, and the American press, use "American" language, or should we continue to emulate our former rulers?

You may all serve as judge of the matter--or should that be judges?

Best regard,

Norm Voile

normvoiles@frontier.com

Norm Voiles is a resident of Rush County and a native of Decatur County.

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