Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 22:23:20 -0600
From: "Donald M. Lance" engdl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Re: "level the playing field"
At 08:01 PM 1/13/98 -0500, you (Gerald Cohen gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UMR.EDU ) wrote:
I recently received a query about the expression "to level the playing
field." In what way is a playing field leveled? What is the origin of this
unusual expression? Is it older than the past decade or so?
For me, the implication has always been that the losing person/team is
claiming that the "field" is "tilted" to his-er/their DISadvantage. It's
clearly figurative rather than literal. I think the expression has been
around for well over a decade, but I'm not sure.
Football fields are rounded so that rainwater drains off to the sides, but
that's not the "leveling" that Missouri wanted when Colorado got a 5th down
a couple of years ago and when a Nebraska player kicked the ball illegally
this past year.