Backstory: Sports cliches from Smiles Dandy

WEATHERMAN (Claude E. Skye) " ... and so this mass of hot air will likely collide with this mass of hotter air and that will create a double chance of hot air for all of you headed for the beach this weekend, and that's the weather from Claude E. Skye. Back to you, Deep, at the news desk ..."

NEWS DESK (Deep Baritone) "Well, thanks, Claude. We won't touch that line about "hot air," because we don't want to make you feel any worse than you already do for being just a weatherman ... and anyway, it's time for sports from our sports desk and Smiles Dandy."

SPORTS DESK (Smiles Dandy): "Well, thank you both for staying cool and not beating that 'hot air' line over our heads with a club, you guys, which reminds me, it's National Sports Cliché Week, if you can believe it. For a live report we've sent Olaf Jurgensen from our 'meaningless-jargon-and-ersatz-platitude desk' out to the ball field. Olaf."

OLAF JURGENSEN: "Thanks, guys. I'm here on the field with our own Swat Milligan, and how 'bout it, Swat, I guess there's been 'No Joy in Mudville' this season with your 0-17 record?"

SWAT: "You said it. Well, you know we've been plagued with injuries, and with so many guys out, the rest have had to give 110 percent."

OLAF: "Well, let me stop you right there. Isn't that part of the problem? Isn't it impossible to give 110 percent? I mean if you give everything you have, isn't that only 100 percent?"

SWAT: "Hey, I'm no mathematician. I think I cut those classes to get out to my baseball warm-ups earlier than everyone else ... (laughs) you know what I mean?"

OLAF: "Sounds like you could use someone who can take you to the next level after getting so many of those old-fashioned woodshed whippin's ... What was the nail in the coffin that sealed your fate?"

SWAT: "Well, even though this is a great sports town, we went to the well once too often and the faithful began heading for the exits. We haven't had our heads in the game, and when that happens to a great franchise, you just need a change of direction. You've got to regroup and find your rhythm."

OLAF: "Sounds like its gut-check time, crunch time. What are you gonna pin your hopes on?"

SWAT: "Well, this team is starting to jell, make some noise. We're really a family and feel like we've turned the corner and are beginning to play with confidence. We're gonna throw our old game plan out the window. We think we could become a force to be reckoned with. You've got to respect our athleticism."

OLAF: "Sounds like a real Cinderella story. If you can recover the old team chemistry, you could get on a roll and go the distance."

SWAT: "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We're gonna take things one day at time. We're just gonna dig down and execute and do what we do best and let the rest take care of itself."

OLAF: "Well, more power to ya, you've been going at it like a couple of heavyweights. A week could make all the difference. If you can get within striking distance, it will be a whole new ballgame."

SWAT: "If not, we'll have to take a long look in the mirror."

OLAF: "That would be a bitter pill to swallow."

SWAT: "A long plane ride home."

OLAF: "Not if you step up and make the big plays."

SWAT: "Or if we can match the other team's intensity."

OLAF: "Try hitting on all cylinders. Like a well-oiled machine. Then it will be just a walk in the park."

SWAT: "We'll be off to the races."

OLAF: "With a real sense of urgency."

SWAT: "It's simply a numbers game at this point, anyway: Whoever puts the most points on the board is going to go home a winner."

Daniel B. Wood is a staff writer for the Monitor in Los Angeles.

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