Now that my blood pressure has returned to near normal levels after my beloved Blue Devils barely eked out the NCAA basketball title (and I do mean barely), now feels like a good time to reflect on the daily bludgeoning the English language receives from sports telecasts.
Seriously, is there any class of professionals doing a greater disservice to the fundamentals of their profession? (I suppose a lawyer joke might be timely here, but I digress). Dick Vitale is a particularly egregious offender, with his nasally catch phrases (PTPer, diaper dandy, up-up-and-away) delivered with excessive exuberance and volume, and his insistence on ending every sentence with “baby.” The entire cast of Sportscenter also has to shoulder some of the blame, as their incessant obsession with clever nonsense has spawned its own database. Shame on you, sportscasters! Look what you did to this poor kid!
Okay, enough ranting. This blog does have a point besides a congrats to Duke, an overwrought criticism of sportscasters, and an excuse to link to the “boom-goes-the-dynamite” video. The point is the need to distinguish yourself in often crowded marketplaces. With sportscasters, it’s language butchering. With Burger King, it’s the King. With McDonald’s, it’s Ronald. With Subway it’s catchy jingles you can’t stand. With Quiznos, it’s something so bizarre it defies understanding.
Now, these efforts to distinguish yourself in the market are an ongoing process of hits and misses. Ronald and the King = hits. Creepy sandwich loving rodents = miss. So, when you get a “hit,” I think it’s important to have adequately planned to protect your investment. This includes both: (1) prospective planning to avoid infringment; and (2) later efforts to prevent infringment. Missing either of these ingredients could turn one of those too-rare "hits" into a lost opportunity — or worse.