Sunday, December 9, 2012

Can We Be Through With 'All We've Been Through'?'

From today's Times and News-Star

It’s a phrase common in all walks of life. Often it packs some truth.

“…after all we’ve been through.”

This might well bat leadoff in the extensive battery of catch-all phrases. From hurricanes to broken hearts to bad hamstrings, “after all we’ve been through” covers ground like corn covers Iowa.

In October, in response to tourists bus tours through the Lower Ninth Ward to see the still lingering destruction of Katrina, the Associated Press quoted a resident: “After all we’ve been through, we deserve more respect than this.”

Amen, sister.

Entertainer Colbie Caillat croons that she “can’t believe it, I still want you. And after all the things we’ve been through…” Which probably wasn’t a hurricane. They probably just had to stand in a long popcorn line at the show one night, maybe see her boyfriend’s ex break in line. Still, pain is relative; I wish them the best.

Where I get my joy in this phrase is when it is uttered, usually quite recklessly, to the masses with an ear tuned to the world of sports. Here, the phrase gets milked like a Jersey cow.

“We’ve all been through so much together,” said a Penn State football linebacker in October, and I agree he and his team have a gripe more legitimate than that of San Francisco’s Giants, whose manager Bruce Bochy said after his team’s World Series title this year, “We’ve been through a lot.” It’s a standard post-game quip, as no player ever says, “We haven’t really been through squat,” though I’d give $10 to hear it once.

Erin Phillips of the Indiana Fever said the team’s WNBA title was especially sweet since “we’ve been through so much as a team.” And Tennessee pitcher Ivy Renfroe hugged her sister Ellen after a big win in the NCAA Softball Super Regional in May and explained, to no one’s surprise, that “we’ve been through so much together!”

A headline in the Baltimore Sun recently reminds us that “Maryland football’s senior class has been through plenty of ups and downs.” Substitute your team’s name for “Maryland” and it would still be correct.

New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte has a special affection for his retired coach Mel Stottlemyer because, he told the Tampa Daily News, “we’ve been through so much together.”

So have the Orlando Magic players, as Quentin Richardson reminded America after the Magic beat the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their playoff series last spring. “We’ve been through so much this year as a group and fought through so much negativity,” said Richardson. The Magic fought negativity a lot better than they fought the Pacers, who won the series in five. I know of one thing the Pacers “went through together,” and that would be the Orlando Magic.

My favorite quote along these lines is from English author Ashleigh Brilliant; it makes wading through all the others worthwhile: “We’ve been through so much together,” she writes, “and most of it was your fault.”