August 29, 2012
First, an exercise. Get a piece of paper and a pen, or a pencil, or if you can’t find a pencil prick your finger and write with your blood. Or just type it somewhere, but don't get blood all over. Rank the following 10 players by how much you think they hustle:
Thanks. Put those aside.
There are plenty of problems with talking about hustle, one of which might or might not be that we reveal our cultural biases in who we describe as hustly. But the root of the problem is that the word hustle, as well as the act of hustle, is vague. Its meaning is subjective. Its value is unmeasurable. Its application is loaded. It’s just not a very descriptive word, and broadcasters should avoid descriptive words that aren’t actually descriptive.
I generally think of broadcasters using hustle in one of two ways. A player runs hard even though he gets no benefit from it. Or a player runs hard when there is a clear and direct benefit to it. In the first case—like running hard to first base on a walk—well, I suppose it’s hustle, but it’s false hustle. It looks good (or it looks silly), but it’s usually sound and fury and show. (When you hustle, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to hustle standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.)