I like sports metaphors. We use them for war, politics and the economy. Actually, war and sports metaphors are used in the other's arena so often, the words and phrases need to be researched, their origins traced. We used the 'whole nine yards' in basic but its origin is argued. I had always thought it was from the Green Bay Packer's failure to finish the drive and falling short - by nine yards, and Vince Lombardi urging his team to go the whole way -- the whole nine yards.
But others say, nope, on one knows where it really comes from. Some suggest its from nine yards of rounds for guns, others for nine yards of bomb rack. Contentions exist saying the expression comes from pouring cement, cutting bolts of cloth and tailoring, coal trucks, and even sailing ships, a yard being a reference to a horizontal mast on a square-rigged sailing ship. Cecil, on "The Straight Dope", straightdope.com, and his readers go into all the reasons why their origin is correct and others are not. One point Cecil and others reiterate is that printed reference doesn't exist until the early 1960s. The Phrase Finder, phrase.org.uk, claims the first written evidence of the whole nine yards is in a short story, "Man On The Thresh-Hold", by Robert Wegner. Barring solid evidence to prove me otherwise, I consider it a sports metaphor.
I thought of sports today as I hit my thousand word mark. They were tough words. That made me think of tough yards, as in when the defense is stout in football, and every yard gained is a small victory. The American football field is 100 yards, goal line to goal line. A running back has a good game if he surpasses 100 yards in the game, as does a receiver. The quarterback is said to have a good game if he passes over 300 yards. It's all about what matters as a standard of accomplishment.
One thousand words is my daily measure for the novel. Sometimes they come easily flying past until I stop, slightly glazed, at over fifteen hundred or more. One day, three thousand and twenty words poured out of me in a five hour session, a level that still pleases me, a personal mark.
Today's words were tough yards. I wrote, edited, re-wrote and revised as I went, working continuously for two hours. My mind was on the writing and the clock. I had a hard stop to meet commitments made. Looking ahead in the day, there weren't going to be more chances for a productive productive writing session so I pushed hard.
I was in my regular coffee shop, and friends and acquaintances stopped by as they were leaving, surprising me, as I didn't know they'd arrived. Each time they left, I returned to the novel and pressed. As my time limit expired, I checked the word count and was a bit surprised and greatly pleased to see I'd reached 1,002. That's when it hit me that they'd been hard words, hard but satisfying. In football the hardest yards at the 'yards after contact'. What happens to you hit? Do you keep running uphill or backpedal. It's your will, your strength being tested. I passed today, but every day brings a new test.
I began shutting down and getting ready to leave at that point, only to discover half of my coffee remained. I downed it in long steady swallows without challenge. It had been sitting there since I first arrived, and was stone cold.
Where does stone cold come from? I can see where it makes sense but who first started using it? Is its origin what I assume?
To the google!
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com