D Coleman was a sports commentator and anchor during the early years of my sporting life. I don’t think he was that great nor did his voice soothe or excite. However he will remain forever lodged in our national sporting consciousness by his faux pas. And they were so splendid Private Eye gave them a column under the moniker ‘Colemanballs’.
One of the most famous he didnt even say… this was bt Ron Picketing in 1976 of one 400 metre runner stretching away from the field when he informed us that ‘Bloggs has opened his legs and is showing his class’.
Actual examples include…
“And the line-up for the final of the women’s 400 metres hurdles includes three Russians, two East Germans, a Pole, a Swede and a Frenchman.”
“The front wheel crosses the finish line, closely followed by the back wheel.”
“The Republic of China: back in the Olympic Games for the first time.”
“That’s the fastest time ever run, but it’s not as fast as the world record.”
“Forest have now lost six matches without winning.”
“There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking.”
“This evening is a very different evening from the morning we had this morning.”
These happen everywhere. An early cricket example had one fielder described as ‘standing with his legs apart, waiting for a tickle’ . And another describing the New Zealand bowler Brian Cunis as having a name that ‘was neither one thing nor the other’.
And Murray Walker of F1 racing frequently featured in the Colemanballs column. His excitable delivery led to so many mistakes that they began to be labelled “Murrayisms”. Examples include “We’ve had cars going off left, right and centre”, “do my eyes deceive me, or is Senna’s Lotus sounding rough?”, “with half of the race gone, there is half of the race still to go”, “There is nothing wrong with the car, apart from that it is on fire”, “That car is totally unique, apart from the car behind it, which is identical”, and “The gap between them is now nine-tenths of a second; that’s less than a second!”.
Does this resonate across the nations? Are sporting malapropisms ubiquitous?