The GW gymnastics team `hits’ back, and the tale of my big head

I got hate mail for the first time last week.

The members of the GW gymnastics team were kind enough to let me know exactly what they thought of my last column about sports jargon.

DaveIf you read it (God bless those who did), you will recall that I used the gymnastics team’s frequent use of the word “hit” to poke fun at sports jargon and clich?s. I would like to respond to a few of its comments.

First, the column was not meant to offend the gymnastics team or their members’ speech. My point was that athletes, coaches and fans use words and phrases that confuse people who don’t follow sports. I tried to have a little fun with some popular sports clich?s and used the gymnastics team to illustrate how this lingo can be confusing.

The piece was not meant to denigrate the accomplishments of the team in the gym or the classroom. The team should be proud of what it accomplished this year.

The Colonial women had a great season, as I said in the column. I also wrote that the team did not “hit” at the NCAA Regionals. My understanding was that to “hit,” the team would have to finish extremely high at the regional tournament, which it did not. Not to say it did poorly, only that it didn’t “hit.”

Second, The Hatchet’s coverage of the gymnastics team this year has been fair and accurate. The gymnastics team was our lead sports story three times despite playing its season at the same time as the basketball teams.

The column was meant to be funny, not insulting. I think the confusion comes from the awful picture that accompanies my columns. Look at that solemn face. Of course the gymnasts thought I was being mean. Who would think that a guy with a mean look like that would write something funny?

Worse yet, when my column and photo are posted on The Hatchet’s Web site (, my head is huge – just enormous. No one remembers my columns, only that they were written by “that kid with the massive melon.”

I’ve got to get a new picture. In fact, I really don’t like this running-pictures-with-columns thing. Yeah, you get your picture in the paper, but the people you upset know exactly what you look like. Why does this matter? Well, read the last line of the letter I got from the gymnastics team:

“If, by the end of our response Mr. Mann, you are still confused as to the meaning of the word `hit,’ we assure you that any one of the Lady Colonial Gymnasts will be proud and willing to demonstrate it for you.”

So, I’m watching my back these days. I’ve been having these horrible dreams, in which I’m beaten senseless with parallel bars and floor mats.

Seriously, I apologize to the gymnasts if they were insulted by my thoughtless drivel. (Hey, at least I know someone read it.) It was not meant to make fun of the gymnasts, only the language I myself am guilty of using. The gymnastics team just provided a good example.

Can’t we all just get along? After all, it’s a great time of year. Spring is in full bloom and the NHL playoffs have begun. I can’t wait to watch my Flyers play some intense playoff hockey. Now there’s a team that “hits.”

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