General Sports Idioms

Those Common to Most Sports & Games

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to give the game away by not playing well or showing one's strategy to the opposing team
Sentence 1
The team didn't play well. They gave the game away. Don't give the game away by showing your cards.
Meaning 2
to show or reveal a strategy
Sentence 2
If you show them the ad, you'll give the game away.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to try to win
Sentence 1
She went for it and won the World Cup downhill.
Meaning 2
to try one's best
Sentence 2
Go for it! Try to be a doctor.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to play a game on a team's home field or court
Sentence 1
The Eagles have a home court advantage when they play football in Philadelphia.
Meaning 2
to have an advantage
Sentence 2
I had a home court advantage when they argued.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be in good physical condition
Sentence 1
He's in good shape for the soccer season. He has been running five miles three times a week.
Meaning 2
to be in good condition
Sentence 2
That company is in good shape. It's price earnings ratio is under twelve.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be fully engaged in the "swing"
Sentence 1
You need to take the racquet into a full swing in order to hit the ball properly.
Meaning 2
to move fast or efficiently
Sentence 2
Let's get the factory into full swing. We'll need those cars by November.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to continue playing or rolling the ball (so your opponents cannot get it)
Sentence 1
Don't let the other team get the ball. Keep the ball rolling.
Meaning 2
to keep something going, to continue to work on something
Sentence 2
Jill, it's your responsibility to keep the ball rolling on the ads for our new account.

Derivation

to keep the croquet ball rolling so your opponent cannot get his turn

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
level or flat playing field is important so that the play is fair.
Sentence 1
We need a level playing field for soccer, so one team does not have to run uphill.
Meaning 2
to be fair, to be equal
Sentence 2
They had more troops. We bombed them, so we had a level playing field before we sent in our troops.

Derivation

The idiom above, used in the Gulf War of 1990 refers to equalizing the numbers of ground troops rather than a level area for men to fight. In this case, the idiom is so far removed from its literal meaning of a flat or level field it becomes rather confusing.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
The most valuable player or M.V.P. is the player who contributes the most to the success of his or her team.
Sentence 1
Mike Trout is the most valuable player in the American League.
Meaning 2
He or she is the most valuable player on the team, whether in business, politics or the nome.
Sentence 2
Betty was considered the most valuable player on the legal team.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
made a hit in baseball or in another ball sport
Sentence 1
Hank Aaron got three hits in the world series. He ranks third in runs and hits. He was a great hitter.
Meaning 2
to do well
Sentence 2
He made a hit with his girlfriend when he took her out to dinner.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to win points in a competition
Sentence 1
Basketball players make lots of points in a game.
Meaning 2
to make a successful move
Sentence 2
Did you make points with the boss by working overtime?