Some English lessons for haters

Published 8:14 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fair warning. This column is going to be filled with onomatopoeia.

You’re not supposed to say that in a newspaper.

Now, don’t let your mind wander too far. Whatever you just thought about onomatopoeia, that ain’t what it means. Think back to high school, English class. Onomatopoeia refers to words that imitate sounds. According to the first official-looking reference site that popped up in my Google search results, the original Greek word translates to “the name (or sound) I make.” We’ll go with that.

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You’ve seen onomatopoeia before. You learned it as a child. A cow goes “moo.” Mr. Duck says “quack, quack.” When Batman throws down on a villain in the comics, “SMACK” or “BAM” flies through the frame behind him in big, colored letters.

This is the sports page, so here are some sports-related onomatopoeia: the field goal attempt “doinks” off the upright. A basketball player “dunks” the ball. Baseball fans enjoy the “crack” of the bats.

Why are we talking about onomatopoeia? Because I’m going to use it to describe some rotten sports fans I’ve encountered across Lincoln County during basketball season.

My boss said I couldn’t identify these unmerry-makers specifically — we might get in trouble. I can’t even describe what they look like and let you, the reader, figure it out. Doing so would cause my boss’s phone to ring too much.

Hey, “ring” — that’s onomatopoeia, too. How about that.

So, with our thinking caps on, here are a few fans that need to Google the word “sportsmanship” and see how the Greeks said it. This is what they sound like.

Offender No. 1 is a regular at Brookhaven High School home games. This is the noise Offender No. 1 makes:


It’s loud. You Brookhaven folks know who I’m talking about.

What’s wrong with laughter at a basketball game? Aren’t we here to have fun? Maybe. But I never hear Offender No. 1 actually cheer the home team, just laugh out loud — very loud — at the visiting team’s mistakes.

Every travel, every double-dribble, every turnover or lost ball or foul some poor girl commits against the Lady Panthers, Offender No. 1 is there to make sure they feel as low as the Dead Sea.

It ain’t real friendly. How can that be fun? Offender No. 1 puts so much effort into being inhospitable, it’s more like a job. That laugh is probably practiced, with hot sauce and Chloraseptic.

One of these days a visiting player is going to “accidentally” pass too hard to the corner and Offender No. 1 is going to catch a face full of basketball. I’ll be down on the court with my camera, and I’ll be making this noise:


Not that I wish for that to happen. I’m a Christian.

I heard Offender No. 2 at Loyd Star a few weeks back.

Junior Dane Smith, the team’s leading scorer, caught an elbow in the eye from a Brookhaven player and went down. The officials didn’t whistle the play dead, and the Panthers went in for a layup while Smith laid out on the wood trying to remember who his momma was.

The crowd was displeased, and I get that. I have no problem with a little booing.

Hey, “boo” — there’s our “O” word again.

Anyway, the booing died down after a minute, but Offender No. 2 wanted those referees to know he knew all about their dirty ways. He called them out from way up in the stands, and he sounded like this:


I don’t know what that means. Neither did the officials.

I can’t figure out why folks want to holler at the officials directly. Like I said, a little booing is alright, but does Offender No. 2 really believe those officials got together pregame and decided, “Hey, that Smith boy’s gotta go. Too many Smiths at Loyd Star, anyway.”

Seriously, don’t mess with the officials, Mr. Hurka-Dirka. Those fellas don’t care who wins or loses in Lincoln County. They all live in Vicksburg. That crazy language you’re speaking makes the rest of us uncomfortable.

Anyway, if you tried to fight that official, you’d lose. He does a lot of cardio, and you’re eating nachos and cheese out of a squeeze bag.

Offender No. 3 was from Enterprise. Just kidding. They’re like a Sunday school class out there.

Offender No. 3 was from West Lincoln. During a late October basketball game — may have been the first one of the season — a junior high Bear knocked down a kid from Bogue Chitto. The officials didn’t whistle it, and Bobcats coach Mark Pitts gave the nearest referee the stankinest’ of stink-eyes.

“That’s a foul!” he hollered.

Oh no. Offender No. 3 wasn’t about to let the expertise of an 11-year-old be called into question. She bellowed:


OK, I made up the last part. That’s just how my heart interpreted her.

Come on, lady. These kids don’t have armpit hair yet. Does victory at 5:15 p.m. mean so much to you that you have to lobby to get a visiting coach called for a T? Maybe your precious killer really did commit a foul. There are few legal plays in basketball that leave another kid on the floor gasping for air, after all.

A couple folks sitting around her applauded her efforts. The official did like any God-fearing man would have done when face to face with Offender No. 3 — he ignored her. I have a picture of her, somewhere. I’m saving it to tack up on my wall of shame.

Hey, “tack.” That’s onomatopoeia, too.

“Tact,” however, is different. But even tact is Greek to a few folks.