Missing Word Game

(By Chris, Editor in Chief of MyBriefs.com and the adult writer of the Gab Four. Originally published March 3, 2010, sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Bill Belichick hides them, Al Michaels reports them, Cal Ripken, Jr., played through them and James Andrews corrects them.

Injuries have always been a part of sports, and assuming Dr. Andrews is unable to ever transplant parts of Robby the Robot into athletes' bodies, injuries will most likely stay a part of sports.

Teams have daily injury updates, weekly injury reports and injured lists, all the while hoping their star players never find their way onto said lists. And when a marquee player falls down, simultaneously clutching his now-detached spleen, teams either crumble or rally above expectations.

So what would happen to a column if English's most common word went down?

A lot of other words are going to have to pick up some slack. Think New York missed A-Rod when his hip was injured? A World Series victory proves otherwise, meaning that English's next most common words, "of," "to" and "and," need to step up.

Being in a small market isn't an excuse. Twins baseball didn't take a hit with MVP Justin Morneau nursing his back. That means "a," "in" and "is" cannot let their fellow words down.

And how did Orlando do without Jameer Nelson last season? Rafer Alston and Anthony Johnson did not miss a beat. That responsibility now falls on words like "it," "you" and "that."

Many football teams sometimes even revert to gadgets and trick plays to cover for a missing star.

When Drew Bledsoe went down, New England rode an unproven Tom Brady to a Super Bowl, upsetting favored teams by relying on surprises. Likewise, relying on ostentatious verbiage to adumbrate recognition is a wise decision, wouldn't you agree?

Of course, if a team does too well without a star player, that player soon may find himself on another team.

Kevin Boss played well enough that Jeremy Shockey wasn't missed much in New York, explaining why Shockey was soon dressed in black and gold, lined up at tight end for New Orleans.

But make no mistake, Spanish, German or even French won't be getting English's most common word. It's a 15th Century adjective, in fact, qualifying it for "Old English" status.

Indianapolis without Manning or Cleveland without LeBron would provide an example of what English would be like without this word. No matter how good a job "was," "for" and "on" do, English's most common word cannot be replaced.

There's just no getting around it. For a column to succeed, English cannot be, as Michaels would say, "out with a 'the.'"

Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of MyBriefs.com, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.


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