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English on a Ball

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Marco from San Diego, California, is curious about why sportscasters speak of a player who put English on a ball. The expression appears to have begun with British players of billiards and snooker, who first figured out how to give a ball some extra spin. Body English refers to the way a player or observer twists and turn once a ball is already in motion, as if they could somehow add a little extra spin after the fact. Sports announcers also refer to a ball that’s passed too hard as having a lot of mustard on it. That’s simply a way of comparing that added force to extra “spice.” This is part of a complete episode.

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