Friday, February 03, 2006


Who uses it: College coaches and athletes
What it means: A college athlete who spends a year practicing with the team but not playing, either because of academic requirements or because the student has transferred from another school.
How you can use it: To describe someone who's training, but not playing yet.

Redshirted players don't actually wear red shirts, which has always puzzled me. And "redshirt" should not be confused with "red card," which is a soccer penalty. (I don't watch soccer; do officials actually hand players a red card, or is that just metaphorical?)

I seem to be alternating between good days and bad. Yesterday was a bad day, so I'm counting on today being a good one. I need to get some things done. In the meantime, here's

What I Read This Week

Karen Olson, Sacred Cows. Meeting Karen Olson was the highlight of last year's New England Crime Bake for me; at one point, we were the only women at our table who weren't knitting. (Don't get me wrong: I admire people who can knit well, and I knit (poorly) myself -- but you will never see me pull out a set of needles at a professional meeting, even if the sponsors are a group called "Sisters in Crime." Come on, ladies.) Anyway, it took me way too long to read her first novel, but it was worth the wait. A Yale student falls to her death from an apartment balcony; reporter Annie Seymour soon discovers that the student had been working as a high-priced prostitute, and that her death is tied to a scam that reaches the highest levels of New Haven's elite. Annie is a great character with a sharp, funny voice, and I look forward to her next adventure.

Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation. Sarah Vowell follows the historical trails that led to three Presidential assassinations: Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. It's funny and enlightening, showing how the patterns of American history repeat themselves -- and how our current President really ought to be reading more about the McKinley Administration.

Herman Wouk, Youngblood Hawke. When I feel bad, I reread my favorite books; it feels like hanging out with old friends. I bought a used hardcover of this book in college, and read it until it fell apart. It's 783 pages; the spine split, the boards fell off, and eventually even I had to throw it away. Then I bought a paperback edition, and passed it around to all my friends in Los Angeles until that copy fell apart, too. This copy belongs to the Gardiner Public Library, and I am returning it in the same condition it was in when I checked it out. It's a sprawling epic about a gifted writer who seems bent on self-destruction; it's also a cultural history of American publishing and filmmaking, circa 1950. It is one of my all-time favorite books, and if you've read it and disliked it, you can't be my friend. Sorry.


Decatur Drew said...

Hi, Answer Girl. You're actually in an area where I have some knowledge, and I'm not sure I agree with your definition, at least for college football which has the most redshirts.

I don't believe that transfers are considered redshirts - though they are mandated to take a year off from sanctioned competition.

Academics is a reason for redshirting but more frequently players redshirt because of injury or because - often as freshmen - they need a year to work in the weight room, adapt to college life, and become better football players. Or, if there are multiple players ahead of them on the depth chart, they keep a year of eligibility when they wouldn't be playing anyway and allow players to graduate.

Some football programs automatically redshirt all or most freshmen players.

I suspect that in the olden days, players probably did wear actual distinguishing red shirts for practicing.

In soccer, the refs do indeed have red (and yellow) cards. The ref does not hand it to the player who has been penalized but does display it to him/her(often quite theatrically)

AnswerGirl said...

Wow, thanks, Drew! I bow to your superior knowledge. I used the term today, actually, because I heard a sportscaster refer to Patrick Ewing Jr. as a "redshirted transfer." But it was on "The U" (ESPN University), so probably not an A-list broadcaster...

Anonymous said...

During football practice, a red jersey (though sometimes it is yellow) means "no contact." Red shirt players can take contact in practice, but that's yet another mystery of sports argot. Booyah!