For those who know little about snowboarding, the jargon of Winter Olympic commentators must really baffle. Terms and phrases sprinkled through the broadcasts from Beijing can sound like a foreign language.
You may think chatter is talk, but in the snowboard world it’s the vibration of a snowboard speeding across icy snow. Roast beef isn’t what Chloe Kim ate for lunch before winning her gold medal. It’s the name for her backward reach that grabbed the rear edge of her board while she was in mid-air. I laid down for a good night’s sleep when NBC’s coverage finally ended; Shaun White had just laid down an 86.25 to qualify for the halfpipe finals – a pipe, which by the way, has nothing to do with smoking tobacco.
Fakey is what I never ever want my character to be. For snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, it’s riding her board downhill backwards. Have you heard all the talk of amplitude? Not to be confused with attitude, amplifiers, or amphibians, amplitude is the height a boarder achieves when grabbing air. How do you grab air? Well, that depends on whether you’re talking about Seatbelt Air, Nuclear Air, Mosquito Air, or Stiffy Air. And, since I’ve never snowboarded, I can’t help you out there.
All of this makes me wonder what non-Christians and newcomers to the faith must hear when they learn that someone is on fire for God. Are her pants actually burning like the flesh of those ancient goats sacrificed on altars? Is a holy kiss the kind that gets shared only on Valentine’s Day? I’m thinking that a Dunkin Donuts™ junkie may accidentally confuse Holy Spirit-filled with a vanilla crème-filled donut. A love offering can only be the opposite of a hate offering. Right? As for love, some have the sense that putting a little love on our kids is a good idea, which gives even me (as an insider to faith) the willies.
Eating the Lord’s body and drinking the Lord’s blood is enough to send any newbie running for the door. But then, maybe that’s a total God thing, as opposed to – I guess – a partial God thing?
Unfamiliarity with the language of those who live and play differently than we do can turn us off. Or, it can inspire us to explore and learn from the lexicon of others while, at the same time, making adjustments to phrases and clichés in our own worlds. I’m stoked for the second option, which to a snowboarder may mean psyched, and to a Christian could mean excited.