If you really hate sports, we feel for you. It seems there's always some Large Sport Thing coming up that you have to pretend to care about. As soon as the Super Bowl is over, people are looking forward to March Madness, and after that they'll be all abuzz about the remaining fourteen months of the hockey season, and every time you think you know what "goaltending" means, they change it on you.
Basketball terminology is just as misleading as that of any other sport. If you don't know your terms, two minutes of play-by-play will have you thinking the power forward just got in his car and is driving downtown, where he intends to paint something, which is evidently very exciting. This is assuming you can even understand the words being spoken, and that the announcer you're listening to is not Dick Vitale.
Dick Vitale: A basketball commentator. Every November, ESPN captures this humanoid from his natural habitat and props him up in front of a microphone, where he groans enthusiastically in a language known only to him.
The NIT: A once-great tournament that now consists of teams that are, by definition, worse than the Wofford Terriers. Here's an SAT-style analogy for you: The NCAA Tournament is to The NIT as The Prom is to Not getting invited to the prom and holding your own prom in your basement with stuffed animals.
"The Big Dance:" Term for the NCAA Tournament clearly invented to make fun of teams who have to settle for going to the NIT. "So, Baylor, who are you taking to The Big Dance? Ohhh, you weren't invited..."
Cinderella Team: In the story, Prince Charming rejects all the women he sees until he meets Cinderella, with whom he falls in love and eventually marries. In basketball, everyone ignores the Cinderella team until it starts winning; the team advances through the tournament thanks to magic and fairies and wonderment, whereupon its carriage suddenly turns into a pumpkin (it loses to Kansas).
"Throw up a brick:" The unfortunate and embarrassing result when a player has eaten too many bricks before the game.
Kidding. It means taking a bad shot. With the basketball.
Garbage Time: The period when everyone is basically just wasting time until the game is finally over, so, for you, "the basketball game."
The Key: If a basketball announcer is shouting about "the key," he's usually referring to the painted area of the court surrounding the basket. However, consider: is the announcer Bobby Knight, and is he currently trying to get your attention from a prison cell?
Your Bracket: Someone asking if you've "filled out your bracket" is either 1.) slyly indicating that you have gained weight or 2.) wondering if you have gotten around to haphazardly predicting the outcome of the NCAA tournament. Whether you judge by academic reputation, mascot adorableness, or a team's ability to play the game of basketball, the only certainty is that putting time and effort into your bracket is an exercise in futility. The cornerstone teams you rely on will all suffer injuries, Unstoppable University will somehow lose to The Wilmington Nobodies, and then in the end Duke will win anyway. It's enough to give a person April madness (which is just regular madness).
Do you have a favorite college team?
Related Post: How to Talk Like a Basketball Player