I heard a sports commentator today report that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup because later in the last game they started playing with physicality. Yup, that’s what the commentator said. So what is physicality anyway? It’s one of those sports-speak terms one hears all the time now, from announcers and commentators on sports news, sports channels and sports reporting. “He’s playing with real physicality now” the commentator says with genuine, straight-faced sincerity as if he’d just discovered something profound. Oh, right, because before, when he was just running, kicking, tackling, punting, he WASN’T playing with physicality, he was just, well, playing?
It seems like physicality shouldn’t even be a word. It sounds like one of those made up words that sports commentators use. But turns out it is indeed a word after all. Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines it thus:
“phy-si-ca-li-ty (fiz’ i kal’ i te) 1. the quality of being physical, especially when emphasized, or overemphasized.”
Okay, so basically physicality means being really, really physical. So if you’re playing a sport, running, throwing, tackling, whatever, you are indeed being physical, but if you’re playing really, really hard, then you’re playing with physicality.
Hmm. So take a professional sports team. It’s their JOB to play with physicality. That’s all they do. Yet, they cruise through the first half, or the first period, or whatever time compartmentalization that particular sport has, and they just…play. Just phone it in. Go through the motions. Then, when, SURPRISE, team A discovers they aren’t beating the team B, they start playing with physicality, and win the game. Seems like they should have just done that from the beginning. Just sayin’.