This is all Ron Rivera’s fault. The head coach of the Carolina Panthers seems like a great guy, with solid Edward James Olmos looks and values. I imagine he really appreciated the film Stand and Deliver. But the man has an unfortunate verbal tick in which he adds the phrase “a little bit” to nearly every sentence he speaks. Here’s a small sample, courtesy of the Herald Online:
- “I think I can help a little bit more on the defensive side.”
- “That was a little bit different for me, obviously.”
- “We’ve struggled a little bit. It’s going to be two teams that need to win.”
- “He’s kicked it pretty good but I’m a little concerned about him being just a little bit sore.”
- “You’d like to bring it up a little bit but Cam is able to scoop them up.”
- “It takes the wind out of your sails a little bit, especially the way we’ve been playing defensively.”
- “It was a little bit expensive back then but it stands the test of time.” (He was talking about his favorite Christmas present)
I don’t why I started noticing this, but now I can’t STOP noticing it. I’m like Roddy Piper in They Live, except instead of aliens I’m seeing that stupid phrase. And now I’m convinced that Ron Rivera was Patient Zero and the Little Bit disease is spreading. I see why it would be commonly used among jocks, because they’re desperate to sound even-keeled and uncontroversial whenever speaking to the press, so everything is “kind of” this, “sort of” this, and “a little bit” that, but now it’s being taken to new extremes. Witness Chris Bosh in Monday’s Daily Dime: “It kind of pissed me off a little bit.” (Bosh is the perfect victim for this syndrome, when you think about it: he’s mealy-mouthed and unassertive even when he’s trying to be blunt.) Then last Friday George Karl upped the ante to a zany level: “I can’t deny that my head has felt like it’s ready to burst a little bit.” C’mon, men, there’s no such thing as being a little bit pissed off (or sort of shocked or kind of furious); quit half-stepping and own your verbs and adjectives!
And speaking of adjectives, Bobcats play-by-play announcer Steve Martin euphemistically described Saturday’s crowd for the Raptors game as “slow-arriving.” Perhaps, but only in the sense that the Titanic was “slow-arriving.” Nobody wanted to see this matchup, players included. Nor did the crowd arrive any faster when Toronto opened up a 15-point lead in the first half. Linus Kleiza and Andrea Bargnani were particularly effective with a devastating move known as “face the basket and shoot it.” As Toronto coach Dwane Casey put it, “We started out with the house on fire,” although I assume he meant “like a” house on fire(?).
But then, in a through-the-looking-glass moment, the Bobcats stormed out in the third quarter to erase a 10-point deficit. Equally shocking was how they did it, shooting 80% from the field and hitting of 11-of-12 free throws. Even more equally shocking was who did it: Tyrus Thomas played the full quarter, scored 7 points, grabbed 3 boards, had a steal, and drew three fouls by…(wait for it!)…going to the hoop! My man! I haven’t been this proud of him since he registered that assist last month. Meanwhile, Raptors PG Jerryd Bayliss was clearly shaken by Kemba Walker’s shoes—Walker was wearing the Official Sneakers of Mountain Dew Induced Vomit—and didn’t recover until the 4th quarter, falling just short of a comeback. The crowd went moderately wild/home.
Though Sunday’s game featured that exciting 3rd quarter plot twist, the following night against the Sixers was about as awesome as a rerun of Gilmore Girls. I swear, the Sixers continue to multiply; every time we play them they’ve cloned another 6’7” rebounding swingman with a decent mid-range game. Corey Maggette was out (Was he injured? Was it headband-related?), and Thomas was off his meds again (3-for-10, 0 rebounds). DJ Augustin and Kemba Walker continue to put up the defense of two soggy tampons—tonight it was Jrue Holiday (20 and 6) as the latest journeyman point guard to look like Magic Johnson against us—which sets off a chain reaction of failure all the way back through the defense. As a result, the Bobcats gave up 50 points in the paint and 24 second chance points. After a first half in which he was “waiting a little bit”—(sigh)—“and pressing,“ Spencer Hawes led the way for the Sixers with 11 boards.
Quirk-a Latina: Tarde or temprano.
Today’s oddball Spanish-English-ism is short and sweet: Spanish soap opera characters are big-time fans of the phrase, “sooner or later,” as in, “Sooner or later, he’s going to find out that he’s your son, and then you’re going to have to include him in the will.” But for some unknown reason, they flip-flop it: “later or sooner.” No idea why, but they do it every time.