Saturday, March 21, 2009

You've been Pittsnogled

I love March Madness. In fact, the most stressed out I've ever been in my whole life has to do with Kevin Pittsnogle, pictured above. It was 2006, we were up visiting Tyler's parents, West Virginia was playing Texas, and we were so glued to the TV, we couldn't leave to go get the pizza that was waiting for us at Round Table. I even remember that we got a Guinevere's with pepperoni. Wikipedia describes the moment thus:

[Pittsnogle's] collegiate career came to an end following a 74-71 loss to in the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Pittsnogle, having just returned from a bloody nose, tied the game with 5 seconds remaining with his fifth three-pointer, but Texas guard Kenton Paulino hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win.

Tied the game with 5 seconds left, then a three-pointer from the other team at the buzzer. I can't even describe the stress level.

Tyler and I are going to name our first dog Pittsnogle. No joke.

But, that isn't what this post is about. A few years ago, my friend Brian pointed out something that bothers me every time I hear it. Here's the scenario: there's 5 seconds left on the shot clock and 7 seconds left on the game clock. The announcers will often say that there is a 2-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock. In the words of Brian, "One number minus another number is a difference." I've tried looking up these words in the dictionary and can't quite pin down whether or not the announcers are committing a grammar crime or not. I'm pretty sure they are... but I still don't know. I emailed Grammar Girl about it, so maybe she'll give the answer on a podcast. But in the meantime, does anyone know? Bridget, I'm looking in your direction.

Here are the definitions, so you can judge for yourself:


1. the state or relation of being different; dissimilarity: There is a great difference between the two.


6. a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.


Natchel said...

Based on the definitions alone, I would vote for differential... but I'm not going to commit to anything until Bridget has a say. :)

Bridget said...

I'm sure in casual speech you could use either but I'm going to go with the sports announcer on this one.

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