Bad Words Week: Sportsball

Note: This week I’ve selected words I think we should consider removing from usage for various reasons.

When we talk about athletics, let’s stop using the word sportsball.

Is this happening in your choir, too?

For years, the music students I’ve known have felt picked on, bullied, marginalized by the athletes in the school.

But more recently, as our choir culture has gotten stronger, more like a family, their confidence has increased. Suddenly they don’t hear or aren’t responding to bullying. They are proud of what they do.

Interestingly, with that rise has come a parallel rise in the use by non-athletes of the word “sportsball” or “sports” as a verb (as in, “I don’t sports.” or “Did you go to the sportsball game last night?”)

This week I asked my students to stop using those words in that way. While one interpretation is that they are making fun of their own lack of athleticism, clearly it can also be a way to disparage athletics.  I begged them not to fall into the trap that countless confident athletes have fallen into for years – diminishing people different than them.

I strongly believe using “sportball” is an opportunity for xenophobia that only separates us from our fellow humans. Let’s get rid of it.

Word: Sportball (noun)/Sports (verb)
Reason to Eliminate: Xenophobic, bullying.
Suggested substitute(s): Actual sports terms.