[Ads-l] Playerspeak: "in the zone"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 7 04:09:11 UTC 2016

Thanks for the responses! I recall for certain only that I saw a comment
about the origin of "in the zone" in SI. The sport may well have been
tennis and the athlete may well have been Arthur Ashe.

He has a connection with The Lou, by the way. Thanks to him, a form of Jim
Crow in sports competitions in Missouri was ended.

There was once a time when Saint Louis was a center of tennis in the United
States, the originator of the Davis Cup was St. Louisan Dwight F. Davis. As
Ashe was beginning his career, The Lou was still the capital of tennis
amongst the colored. So, he moved to StL for advanced training not
available anyplace else and played on the tennis team of Sumner High

At that time,blacks couldn't officially compete for the local, regional, or
state championship in any sport. They competed unofficially as "guests."
Consequently, no championship won or record set by blacks in competition
against whites was recognized in Missouri, including state records in the
mile set both by Richard "Dick" Gregory and, later, by his younger brother,
Ron. The latter once set the national high-school mile record. But even
that was not officially recognized in Missouri.

However, when Ashe won the city, regional, and state tennis championships,
he wasn't just some random, local, colored boy. Even at that time, Ashe was
already of national renown. He'd already made the pages of SI. His game was
followed by tennis enthusiasts from coast to coast. His championships and
record number of wins couldn't be simply ignored because he had
participated in the competition only as a "guest" with no official standing.

That particular version of the color bar had to come down.

On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 1:42 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> In some issue of Sports Illustrated from the last century, I seem to
> recall reading something similar to this.
> When the phrase, "in the zone," was fresh and new, an SI writer asked a
> basketball(?)-player what the source of the phrase was or what the "zone"
> was or something like that. The player answered that the inspiration for
> the phrase was Rod Serling's introductory spiel in which he stated that an
> episode of his show was something weird and unexplained that took place "in
> the Twilight Zone." So, when a player's game inexplicably became
> near-perfect, shots falling into the basket as though the ball had eyes, it
> seemed as bizarre as though it was happening "in the Twilight Zone," both
> to the player and to the other players.
> Anybody else have any facts or opinions on this?
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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