Houston, “We” and I Have a Problem: College Football's Most Misused Word

Kent MooreCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2008

According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, the definition of the word "we" is,

"…the word with which a person in speaking or writing denotes a number or company of which he is one…"

The key phrase in that definition is, "of which he is one." You see, you have to be a part of some group of people or some activity that involves a group of people to use the word "we." Example…

"We are the best plastic surgeons in this hospital."

"We finished the marathon in four hours."

Now, I’m not a plastic surgeon and I don’t run marathons. Therefore, I can never be associated with these groups of people.

You will never hear me say, "We finished the marathon in four hours," because I’ve never ran 26.2 miles. If I said that, I would be taking the credit of someone else’s hard work and dedication.

The same can be said in the collegiate and professional sports world. The misuse of the word "we" in sports, especially college football, has become a growing plague that seems to be spreading out of control.

Nothing gets under my skin more than a beer-bellied, one-legged, 45-year-old fan saying things like,

"WE are the best team in the country."

"Did you see the way WE dominated on defense?"

"If WE didn’t throw that interception, WE would’ve won that game."

Did you help that team become the best in the country? Did you contribute to the domination of that team’s defense? Did you throw that interception to cost that team the game?


YOU watched that team become the best in the country, YOU cheered as that team dominated on defense, and YOU threw your beer can at the television when that quarterback threw that interception.

Using the word "we" when talking about a team in which you do not belong to is wrong. You are taking credit for other people’s work.

There is a word they use in literature to describe this. Its called plagiarism.

You are stealing other people’s accomplishments and pawning them off as your own, like you were directly responsible for their achievement.

You wouldn’t walk down the streets of NYC, tapping on your friend’s shoulder while pointing at every skyscraper saying, "You like the work we did on that building?"

Likewise, you wouldn’t go into someone’s hospital room and put your arm around their doctor and say, "We saved your life."

So why do you think it is appropriate to say things like,

"We really need to work on our passing game."

"We scored 30 points in the first half."

"We run the ball better than anyone else in the nation."

Did you go to all those team meetings? Did you lift all those weights and run all those miles to become stronger and faster? Did you stay up late every night to study film of next week’s opponent while everyone else was out having fun?

Did you go to all those two-a-day practices in the blistering heat, puking your guts out while being treated for dehydration? Are you out there on the field every Saturday in all kinds of weather, ranging from freezing cold and blizzards to triple-digit temperatures and 99 percent humidity, breaking your bones and getting concussions?

Did you sustain a spinal cord injury after a vicious hit and had to be carried off of the field on a stretcher because you couldn’t move your arms and legs? On top of all of that, are you trying to remain academically eligible to continue playing football?

If none of that applies to you, then don’t use the word "we." You are doing the players a disservice by taking credit for their God-given gifts, their determination and their success. You are not suffering through the same pain and torment as those players are.

Of course, there are always those that try to legitimize their right to say "we," even though most of them are 40 years old, weigh 450 pounds and have never played football in their lives. I give you the Top 3 excuses…


Excuse 1

"I am a diehard fan with season tickets and I go to every single game, even the away ones."

That’s very nice of you, but you don’t contribute anything to the team’s success on the field. Yes, you may cheer your heart out, but you aren’t running a crossing route through the middle of the field, knowing that a linebacker is waiting to take your head off as soon as the ball touches your fingers.


Excuse 2

"I am a student at the school, so I should be able to say ‘we.’"

You may be a student, but while you were out partying with your friends, drinking alcohol from 11 a.m. until 6 o'clock the next morning, the players were practicing and studying their playbook before going to bed at 8 p.m. so they can get up at 3 a.m. for weightlifting. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t cut it.


Excuse 3

"I played on the team back in 1965. That gives me the right to be a part of the team forever."

Not really. If you want to say things like, "Back in 1965, we were ranked No. 5 in the nation at one point," then go right ahead. You were a part of that team back then, so you have every right to take credit for that accomplishment.

But when you finally graduated and were no longer on the team’s roster, you lost all your "we" privileges.

So, what can "we," as a group of fans, do to cure this growing epidemic? It is really quite simple. Every time you are going to use the word "we," replace it with "they." Instead of saying "our," use the word "their." BAM!!! You are healed. Check it out…

INCORRECT: "We gained over 400 yards of offense on them."

CORRECT: "They gained over 400 yards of offense on them."

You can’t get any easier than that.

Until you spill the same blood, sweat, and tears that these men spill week in and week out, give your favorite team their due credit by referring to them as something in which you are not a part of. You are a fan and a fan only.

You sit in the stands or on your couch, shoving pizza, hotdogs, BBQ, and beer into your mouth while the team does all the hard work.

The same team that sacrifices countless hours and gives up so much just to be able to wear their team’s jersey and step onto that field on gameday.

"WE" as fans should be more respectful and know our role.  


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