Writers who have tackled media assignments for any length of time at all realize their literary efforts, however brilliantly composed, rest squarely on readers’ decisions to read in detail, scan quickly, or flip over to another section of the newspaper.
In the case of this week’s epistle, I realize readers may opt to “flip” — or even “flop” — to other options.
Whatever, I fully acknowledge that combining unrelated news stories with “flipping, flopping and flip-flopping” angles risks comparison with preachers’ “Mother Hubbard sermons.” You know the ones I mean — like “Mother Hubbard dresses — cover everything but touch nothing.”
Let us begin.
High school football coaches thought we already knew it. At most games, the “coin-toss” — conducted at midfield before alma mater music is rendered — is totally ceremonial. The “real” one typically occurs an hour or so earlier, with coaches making the calls while the coin is still in the air.
They explain that too often, players are so hyper-excited that they make ill-advised choices concerning whether to kick off, take the wind, choose end of field, etc. Coaches say it’s been a decade or more since players routinely made the calls.
And to think that for years I’ve joked about pitiful teams whose fans get excited when they win the toss. So much for “flipping.”
Basketball fans realize that in the NBA, “flopping” is an art form. “Flops” to the floor are “performed” by players whose response to bodily contact might suggest they’ve been flattened by Mack trucks. They hope, of course, to activate officials’ whistles, signifying that they’ve been dealt with harshly by an opponent.
Starting this season, NBA moguls are taking a harder look at “flops.” They’ll study them at length following contests, and from many angles. If they feel “floppers” add too much theater to falls, fines will be assessed.