Arts & Culture

Shtickball Presents The Jewish Athlete Dictionary

This Yom Kippur, baseball-loving Jews across the country will look to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun and the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt and wonder, “Will they Koufax?” Read More

By / October 6, 2011
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This Yom Kippur, baseball-loving Jews across the country will look to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun and the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt and wonder, “Will they Koufax?”—never minding the fact that Braun is entirely non-observant and Goldschmidt isn’t even Jewish. But the fascination with the legendary Dodgers pitcher who refused to pitch on Yom Kippur runs deep among the chosen people. During an episode from this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, when Marty Funkhouser announced his intention to go all Walter Sobchak on his golf team, Larry’s incredulous response—”You’re Koufaxing us?”—was at once groundbreaking and familiar. “Koufaxing”—the act of shirking one’s responsibilities to attend to a religious matter—is a word we knew before we ever heard it, and it has already made its way into the lexicon this holiday season. Below, Schtickball has compiled a helpful list of other eponyms derived from (mostly) Jewish athletes:

Amar’e-jewish. adj. The trait of having one’s status as a Jew in flux, depending onwhether or not it suits a given context. For example, being Jewish enough to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv or represent Israel in the Olympics, but not likely to get called up to the Torah any time soon. (See also: Zab Judah)

Dolph Schayes Age, the. n. A bygone era during which it was not uncommon for Jews to ascend to the peak of their respective sports, or for Jewish mothers to name their children Adolph. (See also: Max Baer, City College of New York basketball, Adolph Ochs)

Ecksteiner. n. One who everyone assumes is Jewish due to his name, stature, demeanor, balding pattern, swarthiness, financial acumen or other quality, but actually isn’t. (See also:  Jeff Van Gundy, Paul Goldschmidt, Tim Geithner, Robin Williams)

Greenberger. n. An act whose motivation may or may not be rooted in anti-Semitism, but let’s face it, probably is. Named for your grandfather’s steadfast yet statistically dubious assertion that Hank Greenberg was denied a shot at breaking Babe Ruth’s single season home run record by Nazi pitchers who refused to throw him anything to hit. (See also: anything bad that happens to Woody Allen)

“That professor served us a total Greenberger, scheduling the test on Rosh Hashanah.”

Koufax. tr.v. The act of shirking one’s other responsibilities to attend to a religious matter instead, named for the legendary Dodgers pitcher who refused to pitch on Yom Kippur. (See also: Shawn Green, Marty Funkhouser, Joe Lieberman)

Tamir Goodmanned. adj. Receiving a disproportionate amount of media coverage and fan interest relative to one’s abilities, by sheer fact of the person’s Judaism. Weighed down by the hopes of an entire people, Goodmanned athletes have a tendency to crash and burn spectacularly. (See also:  Sam Fuld, Yuri Foreman)

Youk. n. The polar opposite of an Eckstein, the Youk seems to exude goyishness from his every pore, but is actually a valued member of the tribe. (See also: Jordan Farmar)

We welcome your suggestions in the comments.

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