You know the story by now. Unheralded American sportsman is given his chance in the big time. He dominates every game he plays, becoming a national icon. His deeds spawn a new word in newpaper headlines. The word mushrooms, with official linguistic recognition not far behind. And then, the ultimate accoloade. He appears in Wordability.
OK, that’s not exactly how the story pans out. But it does seem to be a bit of a trend. Following Jeremy Lin’s basketball success earlier this year, and the associated mushrooming of Linsanity across the globe, comes another unlikely sporting and language star – Pete Kozma.
After six years on the fringes of the big time, Kozma was finally called into the St Louis Cardinals team at the end of August. Almost predictably, he has turned out to be sensational, taking a leading role in the National League series against the Washington Nationals, leading his team to victory and spawning the word Kozmania.
Will Kozmania be another Linsanity? Probably not. Jeremy Lin’s story was as much about him being the first American player of Taiwanese descent to make it in the big time as it was about an unlikely player dominating a sporting arena. And there’s something about the word – Kozmania sounds like something which grabs you for a short time and then you get over it, while Linsanity is more of a state of mind and likely to last longer.
But I could be wrong, and if I am, then who knows how many times that American sporting dream from my opening paragraph will be played out in the years to come. Especially the bit where they end up on Wordability.