Generating Ideas – Sports

 sport icons Sports’ Terms Which Can Help . . .


Classical Speech Theorist developed the concept of “topoi.” The “topoi” were mind-generators.

The classical theorist understood that the mind needed some methods for stimulating the thinking processes of the speaker, for GENERATING THOUGHTS!

The classical theorists were right on when it comes to public speaking.  There are ways to get the mental juices flowing when it comes to speech preparation.  Any and all public speakers can use help in “generating” ideas.

Below . . . .

√  are several examples which take a sports’ term and applies it to a biblical passage.  The examples are designed to also get the mind thinking about how such a list can help the homiletical task.

√  is a list of sports’ terms gathered from all different areas in the sport’s world.  This list of sports’ terms, slogans, concepts, phrases which may prove to be beneficial as a mind jogger.

√  is a list worth having available as you prepare a speech or a message in a “rhetorical notebook” (paper or electronic).

√  is a list of a broad variety of sports’ terms which have the potential of getting your mind thinking, generating, creating . . .

  • a BigIdea
  • a way to illustrate
  • a way of framing a sticky main point
  • a full illustration (just research the term further)
  • an introduction
  • a conclusion
  • a way of describing or phrasing what is happening in a biblical passage (i.e. — It was a  calculated risk! which Esther & Mordecai were taking)
  • a metaphor which can drive home point
  • an analogy
  • a word picture
  • a different way of expressing an idea / saying it (variety)
  • etc.

Notice that many of these “sports’ terms” are used in our general vernacular to describe situations, actions, choices, options, etc.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 



Sport’s Term: Down To The Wire

Meaning: A situation where the race comes down to the last few feet or seconds.

BigIdea: The Lord typically runs a situation down to the wire.

If you are looking for the Lord to settle a troubling situation in your life, early on, you are probably unrealistic.  The Lord typically runs a situation down to the wire.

An Application: It went down to the wire with Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. There will be situations in life, where the Lord will allow it to go down to the wire. In fact, most times, in the various Bible accounts, it goes down to the wire before the Lord steps in.

************ Or ****************


Sport’s Term: Jumping The Gun

Meaning: Starting too soon, before the starting gun

BigIdea: When called upon to exhibit faith, the temptation will be to jump the gun.

An Application: Saul was waiting for Samuel to arrive. In his impatience, Saul ended up jumping the gun. That same temptation is ours, and we face the real possibility of jumping the gun. When that happens, like Saul, we can easily find ourselves on a different road than the one the Lord had for us.

************* Or ***************


Sport’s Term: On The Ropes

Meaning: Where an opponent is seemingly losing, usually in a boxing ring, and cannot escape being caught up on the ropes of the ring.

BigIdea: Never conclude that you, or others, are on the ropes when it comes to the Lord’s people.

An Application: It looked like Mordecai was on the ropes. Haman was in a position of power; had the ear of the King, and was driven to accomplish his evil goals.

************ Or ****************


Sport’s Term: Par For The Course

Meaning: What you would expect to happen. Hitting the par for the golf course. Par is what the course was designed to yield.

BigIdea: If you are doing the Lord’s will, never settle for “par” (par for the course).

An Application: Elijah is on Mt. Carmel. His goal is not to shoot par. He asks for the fall prophets to pour on water, to drench the altar. What you would expect isn’t what happens. The fire licks up the sacrifice, the wood, and the water. The Lord never settles for “par.”

************ Or ****************


Sport’s Term: Swinging For The Fences

Meaning: Attempting to hit a home run, putting your all into it, so as to hit it out of the park, past the field’s fences.

BigIdea: The Lord doesn’t demand that we always hit a home run, but He does want us to swing for the fences.

An Application: After Mt. Carmel, the nation did not turn around. In fact, that reality threw Elijah into a state of depression — “I am not better than my fathers.” Many times, we are not going to accomplish what we had hoped, but we can still keep swinging for the fences.

************ Or ****************


Sport’s Term: Throwing In The Towel

Meaning: What a competitor does when he/she wants to give up or call off the competition, surrender.

BigIdea: The temptation to throw in the towel is ours when we fall below our own expectations.

An Application: Peter thought that he could and would stand with the Lord, that he had it within himself to fight to the end. However, when he failed and even denied the Lord three times, he was ready to throw in the towel. Failed expectations did that to Peter, and can do that with us.


Other Sports Terms & Meanings

It’s A Slam Dunk – Something that is deemed easy

Full Court Press – To be aggressive

That Was An Alley-oop – A wild attempt to make it work

Boxed Out – Not in position to act effectively

Behind The Eight Ball – A hard decision or action

It Is A Jump Ball – inability to determine • something

Down For The Count – Doesn’t look like he is going to recover

Bark Up The Wrong Tree – To believe you have it right, when you have it wrong

Call Off The Dogs – To stop the chase, to stop pursuing


Other Sports Terms:

Fish Or Cut Bait

Off The Hook

Calling The Shots

From Stem To Stern

Give Him A Wide Berth

Man Overboard

Lower The Boom

Grand Slam

Match Point

The Ball’s In Your Court

He’s A Heavyweight

No Holds Barred

He Carried The Ball

I Have A Game Plan

You’re Up To Bat

A Hole In One



A Dark Horse

Down The Stretch

Pass The Baton

Put Them Through The Paces

Raising The Bar


The Inside Track

A Long Shot

Home Court Advantage

Level The Playing Field

Most Valuable Player

Making The Cut

No By A Long Shot

Out Of Bounds


That’s The Way The Ball Bounces


First Down & 10

Monday Night Quarterbacking


Hail Mary Pass

Running Interference



Doing An End-Run

Hitting The Bull’s Eye

Wide Of The Mark

Bases Are Loaded

Drop The Ball

Grand Slam

He Put A Lot On The Ball

It’s In The Ballpark

Bottom Of The Ninth

Major League

It’s A New Ball Game

He’s Off Base

Steal A Base

On Deck

Pinch Hit

Playing Hardball

Sacrifice Fly

A One-Two Punch

Above Board


Cards Stacked Against Him

Played The Trump Card

Put Your Cards On The Table

He Went All-In

He Went Into Free Fall

Let’s Get This Off The Ground

A Nose Dive

A Tailspin

Take-Off / Landing

Catch The Curl

Hang Time

Getting The Hang Of It

Catch The Wave

Keep Your Head Above Water

Put Your Oars In

Rowing Upstream

Swimming Against The Tide

Fish Or Cut Bait

Two Can Play This Game

It’s A Game Changer

He Hit His Stride

He Holds All The Aces

A Hole In One

It All Over But The Shouting

Bottom Of The Ninth

A Balk

He Threw A Curve Ball

Warming Up In The Bull Pen


“Illustrations are windows into the house of your message that allow your audience to see what is in there. As we all know, this part of your message is the one that they are most likely to remember. Therefore, make this illustration a key component of your address on these special occasions.” — Daniel Akin



*Daniel Akin — “Let’s Run In God’s Race”  — (multiple examples of sports’ terms are used throughout the message — pdf also available on his website)

“I believe if the Bible were being written today we would find in it illustrations from football, basketball and baseball; golf, tennis, track and field. Why? Because when you come to the Bible you discover that the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of Scripture to draw from athletics to illustrate the Christian life. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27 and 2 Corinthians 4:9 the Christian life is like a boxing match. In Ephesians 6:12 he compares it to a wrestling match. In Hebrews 12:1-3 God’s Word says the life of the believer is like a race. I believe the author of Hebrews had in mind a very particular race: the marathon, a 26-mile 385-yard race. Such a race requires both training and strategy if it is to be run well. . . .

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