Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 14:25:24 EST
Subject: MARCH MADNESS #3: The Al McGuire Glossary

In connection with the following, it's worth noting that many of these ARE used
by other announcers today. A couple of impressionistic comments follow.
I don't mean to impugn Al McGuire or his influence, just to note that at least
of these are more widespread in their distribution.
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
This is from The Sporting News, 29 March 1980, pg. 12, col. 3. Few of
the terms are used today by other announcers:

(...) With the NCAA tournament coming to a climax in Indianapolis,
it's time to bone up on some Al McGuireisms:

AIRCRAFT CARRIER: The ultimate big man--a franchise maker.
BELLY: The weaknesses on the other team.
CHECKERBOARD: Black/white situation.
CUPCAKE: A team that comes down from North Dakota and plays with snowshoes.
CURTAIN TIME: Pick up the hymn books, it's all over.
DANCE-HALL PLAYER: A fella that thinks he can score more than 2 points at

[Note: not a hard feat now, in the day of the three-point shot! LH]

DYNAMITE: Out of sight. Top shelf.
DUNKIRK: A blowout, that's all she wrote.
EAST CUPCAKE: An easy opponent; A chance to play reserves.
FRENCH PASTRY: Hollywood, going for Oscar, performing unnecessarily.
A KEEPER: Quality player, good to be around; Bo Derek.
MERRY-GO-ROUND: Yellow ribbons and winning tourneys.
NOSE-BLEEDER: A guy who can sky; a super rebounder.
OUT-OF-THE-GATE: The first three minutes; sets the norm of the game.
PARK AVENUE: Top shelf, the ultimate in class.
PUSH: Even; a cliffhanger.
QUICK WHISTLE: High school whistle.
SEASHELLS AND BALLOONS: Pleasing, desirable.
SLOW WHISTLE: NBA whistle; refs blow it slower.
TAP CITY: It's all over; Auerbach's cigar!

[If I'm not mistaken, an extension of a term from table stakes poker. LH]

TENTH AVENUE ROUGH: West Side Story; a physical game.
THREE O'CLOCK SHOOTER: Great practice player, zero in game.
THOROUGHBRED: God given athlete or a Final Four team.
UPTICK: Team that hasn't reached full potential.
WHISTLE BLOWER: With three officials, the third official.
WHITE KNUCKLER: Dow to the wire.
Some of these have been around forever. "White knuckler", "thoroughbred" (for
the "blue chipper" or "can't-miss prospect"), and "push", inter no doubt alia,
are not limited to basketball contexts. The last comes from gamblers' lingo:
a push (or toss-up) is one in which neither team is favored; it's also a game
bet against the spread which you neither win nor lose because the outcome was
exactly on the spread (e.g. one team winning by 3). On the whistles, it's
worth noting that the metaphor extends further: not only are there slow
whistles (ones the refs choose not to blow regardless of the physical nature
of the combat--good recent example was the semi-finals of the women's tourna-
ment last week between Stanford and Old Dominion)--and fast whistles (ones the
refs are all too willing to blow, resulting in "shadow fouls"). There's also
what happens in the last minute of a game (hockey or basketball) or in overtime
when officials reluctant to alter the outcome of a game are said to "swallow
their whistles". Makes 'em hard to blow. I'm waiting for its extension to
football, where the official would have to swallow his flag.