[In nearly 10 years as a sports parent/coach, I’ve spent a lot of time chatting with working-to-upper-middle-class parents about all things athletic. If there is one thing those parents have in common, it’s this: when they talk about sports, they don’t drop the final “s.” Unlike Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
You may have seen this clip from a recent campaign appearance pop up in recent days, but this is not his first use of “sport” instead of “sports” to describe collective physical activities. However, I think it’s the first time he’s done it twice in one sentence.
It seems like a silly thing to be bothered about, but the simple act of dropping that final “s” in sports is the Uncanny Valley of athletic syntax, just off slightly enough from what an actual human would say that it sounds like a little creepy, like a subtle signal an alien is trying to pass himself off as one of us. None of the people I’ve known in sportssssssssss (emphasis for Romney’s benefit) would say “is your kid playing sport” instead of “is your kid playing sports,” anymore than they would follow up their question by taking a drag through their jeweled cigarette holder, and adjusting their monocle.]