Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 23:17:02 -0400 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Rat=Freshman; Football Terms RAT=FRESHMAN Perhaps VMI didn't start this. This is from Scholastic Magazine, Oct. 26-31, 1942, pg. 32, col. 2: If Richmond beats William and Mary, freshmen may abandon their "rat caps" for the rest of the year. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- FOOTBALL TERMS A new football season is upon us. There is no good football dictionary available; if I have time to go to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, perhaps I'll do it. Christine Ammer's SOUTHPAWS & SUNDAY PUNCHES, AND OTHER SPORTING EXPRESSIONS leaves a lot to be desired. The following list is interesting, especially for "team of destiny" and "coffin corner kick." It's from the Scholastic Magazine, October 19-24, 1942, pg. 35, cols. 1-3, Sports, "Idiom's Delight" by Herman L. Masin: (...) Here are a few of the more famous catch phrases and how they originated: _A Punt, a Pass, and a Prayer_. A minneapolis sportswriter coined this slogan many years ago after watching Michigan beat a much stronger Minnesota eleven by the clever use of kicks and passes. Nowadays the phrase is used to describe a team that plays for the breaks. _The Galloping Ghost_. Red Grange, of Illinois, the trickiest open field runner of all time, was thus dubbed after the 1924 Michigan game. He handled the ball only five times and scored five touchdowns on runs of 95, 67, 45, and 15 yards! _The Four Horsemen_. Grantland Rice, the famous sportswriter, is responsible for this term. He used it in a news story describing Notre Dame's 1924 backfield of Harry Stuhldreher, Jim Crowley, Elmer Layden, and Don Miller. This backfield was smoother than an actress' hair-do. _A Team That Won't Be Beat Can't Be Beat_. Johnny Poe coined this famous phrase in a locker room pep talk while coaching Princeton in 1896. Twenty years later Poe was killed in France while fighting with the British Army in World War I. _Coffin Corner Kick_. This term was first applied to the slanting punts of the University of Pennsylvania's George Brooke which rolled out of bounds close to the angle formed by the sideline and the goal-line. The phrase later was revived by LeRoy N. Wills, a lawyer whose hobby was teaching boys to control their kicks and to punt diagonally for the deep corner. (When it was rumored that Jimmy Hoffa was buried mob-style at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, some headlines mentioned that he was in the "coffin corner"--ed.) _The Team of Destiny_. Princeton's resourceful 1922 team originally earned this title. It made its own luck and forced the breaks in beating many stronger foes. (Many teams have claimed that "destiny" is on their side. I think Joe Namath's 1969 Jets were "destiny's darlings"--ed.) _Win One for the Old Gipper_. If you saw the movie, "Knute Rockne--All American," two years ago, you know the origin of this phrase. When George Gipp, Notre Dame's greatest halfback, lay dying from pneumonia at the close of the 1920 season, he called Coach Rockne to his bedside and said: "If a Notre Dame team is ever behind at the half of a critical game and you want to rouse them, get the gang together in the locker room and tell 'em to win one for the old Gipper. I'll be with them in spirit." (For a better version, see the movie AIRPLANE! and "Win one for the old zipper!"--ed.)