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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 7 05:47:13 UTC 2016

Thanks for your comments, Wilson. The March 1976 citation below
presents the "Twilight Zone" explanation/rationale for "in the zone".
In addition, this citation antedates the information listed in the OED
Draft Addition kindly shared by Jesse.

[ref] 1976 March 29, The Port Arthur News, Connors, Goolagong prevail
(UPI News Service), Quote Page 9, Column 3, Port Arthur, Texas.

Spelling Note: The newspaper image displayed the spelling
"tempermental" instead of "temperamental".

[Begin excerpt]
Goolagong - calm, cool and collected and playing perhaps the best
tennis of her life — glided through the week-long $75,000 Virginia
Slims of Boston without dropping a set, breezing to a 6-2, 6-0 final
victory Sunday over the tempermental Wade. On the tour, they call that
kind of performance playing "in the zone," after the long-running,
science fiction TV series, "Twilight Zone."
[End excerpt]


On Sat, May 7, 2016 at 4:09 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> School.
> 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
> --
> -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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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