There aren’t many of you that remember the old Art Linkletter television show. It’s so old, I think it was only done in black & white. He had a segment on the show called “Kids Say The Darndest Things.”

It was later recreated a couple of times, but the original was what I grew up on. On the show, Art Linkletter would subtly lead kids into saying what was really on their minds. And you know kids — sometimes they have no filters.

What resulted from Art Linkletter’s somewhat innocent questions was often hilarious. Parents of athletes sometimes say the darndest things, too. Some are funny, some are sad.

One team scores and the coach/parent yells, “they just got lucky.” Maybe on some level that coach/parent is being positive but I think not.

It clearly implies that the other team is not really good enough to score without the benefit of luck. That their skills mean nothing.

I’ve heard people say “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Not me. I’d rather be good. Every time. I’ve also heard it said that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” I like that.

“Hit somebody.” That one always strikes me as funny. Hit somebody! OK, who? Shouldn’t you be more specific? Is it OK if I hit somebody on my own team? They’re “somebody” aren’t they?

I guess “strike hard against someone on the opposing team” just wouldn’t work. By the time you get it out of your mouth, the play is over.

“Keep your eye on the ball.” I’ve been guilty of that one. I’ve probably said it a million times. The idea is to watch the ball all the way to your bat or to your racket and, in doing so, make better contact. It isn’t quite that easy.

Early on, it is important to keep your eye on the ball. Through repetition, the bat or the racket becomes an extension of your hands. That’s where you want to get to.

You can’t tell me that major league hitters see the ball all the way to the bat. MLB fastballs are just moving to fast. But thousands of repetitions establish a muscle memory to where it isn’t necessary.

“They just got their bell wrung. It’s football.” I still hear that one, even in today’s world of concussion awareness. Sure, that’s the way we used to approach things. We know better now.

And once you know better, you can never go back. You can never ignore the potential or the possibility of a concussion.

“Get in the hole!” It’s a golf thing. I’m not sure, but I don’t think golf balls have ears. And from my limited experience, they don’t take orders. From anybody. Yet, I would have been yelling for Phil Mickelson’s putts to “get in the hole.”

“You hit like a girl.” Oh don’t get me started on that one. The other one in this category is that you “throw like a girl.” Those parents need to get a clue. Or a girl.

I’m as competitive as the next person but I don’t believe in cheering when somebody misses a free throw. That’s just wrong. Unless it means that your team wins the game. Then you’re cheering the win, not the miss.

I try and imagine what it is like to be the kid on the losing team or the kid that strikes out or the kid that keeps trying and trying and trying. And then I choose my words carefully.

Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Blount Memorial Hospital’s Total Rehabilitation. Write to Joe at

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