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How Sports Terminology Permeated Mainstream Culture

For some people sports are so much more than just a pastime, a means of staying fit, or something to watch over the weekend, with many enthusiasts living for the sport they love.

This has been amplified by free market capitalism, with companies realising the power of sports brands and messaging, and harnessing them to full effect all around the globe whether they are looking to sell clothing or holiday packages.

The commodification of sporting activity means that there is so much sport that can be watched and consumed in various ways that it was only a matter of time before it began to infiltrate the cultural mainstream, on a scale never seen before.

Here we focus on the sports terminology that is now commonplace in everything from everyday conversation right through to entertainment and art mediums like music, literature, and online games.

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The NBA and its terminology have been adopted by many online gamers looking for concise ways to talk about competitive environments

Online Gaming Riddled with Sports Lingo

Sports video games were some of the very first to capture the imaginations of button bashers and keyboard mashers everywhere, as sports fans love the idea of embodying their favourite teams and sports stars in the gaming realm.

Those same gamers, who loved games like NFL Madden and Sensible Soccer, then went on to experiment with games from other genres, such as classic games like chess, roulette, and backgammon, as well as more modern battle royale titles like Call of Duty and Apex Legends. This has led to huge amounts of sports lingo seeping into the lobbies of all manner of online games. The idea of an All-Star comes from American sports, for example, but is now a term regularly used in everything from online slots selections to Esports teams like the aptly named All-Star Esports Team.

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Other sports terms that appear in the discourse surrounding modern online games include things like “cool down”, which in sport refers to doing light exercise after a hard-fought match or game, allowing the body to slowly recover without seizing up. In gaming, the term is used to describe the period of time an avatar’s capability takes to reload so it can be used again.

“Drafting” in online gaming is the period before a game when players decide which avatars to use and which other players they will cooperate with. This is another term borrowed from America sports such as the NFL, in which top college players are drafted into the big leagues.

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Sports processes like the NFL draft have had a huge impact on cultural sectors such as online gaming

Music Rings Out with Sports References

It can easily be argued that music is the one art form that most closely mirrors wider societal trends and collective feelings. With sports being a constant in the lives of many modern-day recording artists, it makes sense that many of them pen lyrics that have more than a touch of sporting inspiration.

This craze started out on the American rap scene, with the likes of Lil Wayne and Chief Keef naming songs after Kobe Bryant. Sticking with the same genre, there are artists from both sides of the Atlantic who also enjoy spitting lines about their favourite boxers, with the brawlers themselves even appearing on music videos. Mike Tyson appeared on Eminem’s Godzilla video, and the UK’s Anthony Joshua is constantly referenced by UK artists like Dave and Stormzy.

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Sports Movies Took Over Hollywood

There has been something of a dearth of high-quality sports movies of late, perhaps due to the sporting world being forced to take a bit of break in recent years. However, that is not to say that directors and producers will not come back to sporting narratives that have clearly served them well in the past.

Iconic movie series such as Rocky and The Mighty Ducks have long had the power to enthral global audiences. A new generation of movies may now also be on the way, being led by rich sportsmen and women who are forming their own movie production companies. Obviously, the more real-life sportspeople involved with making movies and perusing screen play scripts, the more that legit sports lingo will make its way to the big screen.

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