Man on!

Frank R Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu May 31 02:02:08 UTC 2001

In women's basketball, there is some use of "match-up defense" as a gender-neutral synonym for "man-to-man defense".

As for "guys", it seems to me a very common informal way to refer to or call to a group of men/boys, women/girls, or mixed.  Just today I was asking a group of middle-school softball players, all girls, to move back from the baseball playing area (they were watching the boys play baseball, having finished their game), and felt it best to call them "guys" as opposed to "girls" or "ladies", either of which might be taken badly, despite their age.  It's a sensitive world out there.

Frank Abate

------Original Message------
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Sent: April 20, 2001 4:15:29 AM GMT
Subject: Re: Man on!

At 10:57 AM -0500 4/20/01, Herb Stahlke wrote:
>A few years ago, my daughter was playing on the Ball State Women's
>Soccer team.  This group of young college-age women,
>gender-sensitive all, regularly used a soccer term as a warning when
>the player handling the ball was about to be attacked by an opposing
>player.  The practice is to yell "Man on!" to the ball handler.  No
>one seemed bothered by this.  My guess is that the cry has to be
>short, loud, and clear, and that the game situation has precedence
>of gender-sensitivity.  Any thoughts on this?

Women's basketball players and coaches regularly refer to
"man-on-man" (or hypocoristically "man") defenses, never so far as I
know "woman-to-woman".  This is non-specific, of course, and I recall
noticing that when the UConn women's coach referred to one of his
players as the team's "go-to guy", it was an environment in which
"man" would have sounded very peculiar.  (Both the coach and his
players regularly refer to the women players as "(the) guys", but in
plural uses; the above is one of the few cases I have on record when
the singular was employed, faute de mieux.)

Frank Abate
Dictionary & Reference Specialists (DRS)
Consulting & Lexicographic Services

abatefr at
(860) 510-0100, ext 2311

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