Policy on Sports Metaphors



It has come to our attention that there is some confusion over the use of sports metaphors within the company. To resolve this issue, we drafted some of our best players from sales and marketing and asked them to step up to the plate. Here is an excerpt from their initial report:

“As members of the management team, it is our job to quarterback this company and if all of the team doesn’t understand the plays than we might as well be down for the count.Lining up at the first tee, our first call was to get into a huddle to consider what our next play should be. We were not looking to a face-off with the associates over this. On the other hand, we did not want to just punt and let it slide into the next quarter.”

It goes on from there at great length but in the final analysis the only definitive conclusion reached was that the difference between sales and marketing is evidently that people in marketing actually know what a metaphor is.

For those of you unfortunate enough to read the complete report, we need to clarify that the comment on “cup size” was a reference to the relative size of the America’s Cup trophy at four feet and the Stanley Cup trophy at a modest thirty-five and a quarter inches. The consensus was that the sailors are overcompensating for not being a part of a contact sport.

We went back to the sales and marketing team to ask them to tee up for another go when we learned that with the sales quarter about to end they were in their two minute drill and could not be bothered. Our next step was to pull together a cross-functional team of people whose jobs had no direct connection to the financial success of the corporation. Rather than attempt an outright ban on sports metaphors, this group decided to balance the playing field by creating a new list of metaphors that managers and others could call on in a pinch. In the spirit of inclusiveness, we present a subset of this list for use across the company.

  • Culinary arts: Fred’s idea was half-baked and as a result his career is toast.
  • Mathematics: My viewpoint was orthogonal to the customer’s and as a result she went nonlinear.
  • World of Warcraft: This conference call was as much fun as a PVP with your mother.
  • Daytime television: She started the meeting like Oprah. Got all Dr. Phil in the middle and when it ended I felt like I had been on Jerry Springer.

Additional examples are being developed based on Post-modern art, internet memes and Dancing with the Stars. The concept we are working with is that soon each manager and associate will have their own personal collection of metaphors which only they understand completely. There was a minority report from one individual who thought that this might lead to the balkanization of the company. The rest of the group did not know what league or even sport the Balkans were in, but thought it wouldn’t be a problem as long as everyone came together at the Olympics.

After going the distance, we rounded all the bases and in the end, we find ourselves back at home plate with sports metaphors. We recall a quote from Kofi Annan. As the Secretary General of the United Nations has said that sports “teaches us teamwork and fair-play. It builds self-esteem and opens up new opportunities.” That may be, but it also teaches us that to win we need to crush our opponents and grind their faces in the dirt. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

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