Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's All Go to the Tilt

Okay, I must admit I'm not all that into sports even though, on rare occasion, I have been known to write about a particular sport. My first published article was "Finding Forty-two" in Highlights for Children, a nonfiction about baseball and Jackie Robinson. My latest project is about a baseball field in the community where I now live (a most interesting catch of a story, I might add).

Yes, my husband and I have been to every major league ball park, although we have one new one yet to check off, in Minnesota. Yes, I was a bleacher mom for years of soccer, basketball, football and baseball. For proof, here's my son's high school picture.

Senior Football Family Portrait 
So I do know some sports, but I learned them as I went along raising a daughter and a son and being married to a coach. I certainly didn't bring sports to the marriage. The only reason I ever attended ballgames as a teen was to play in the pep band, and to socialize, definitely socialize. My family was more into big band music and flying airplanes, my normal. That and reading and talking about words that I ran across in the books I was reading.

Which all leads me to one simple little four letter word: TILT. When our children were teens, we had a pinball machine in our playroom downstairs and the word TILT became a part of my vocabulary beyond the everyday, mundane, "Don't tilt that glass, you'll spill your milk."

But as I've researched through sports pages of the forties and fifties, I began to notice TILT in the titles of articles. 
  • Bearcats Triumphant in Tilt 
  • Friday's Tilt Postponed Due to Rain
  • Tilt Begins at Seven Tonight
Using the context clues I had taught my reading students, I soon developed a concept for "tilt." Game. I asked my husband if he had ever heard such an archaic usage of this word and he laughed. Of course he had, and it is not archaic, he said. It's used yet today, he said.

Surely not! 

Two weeks ago, on a Friday football night, the sportscaster on the local channel warned the audience, "If you plan to go to tonight's tilt, be sure to take an extra layer. It's going to be cold."

And there it was.

How have I missed it all these years? But, I'm sorry. Tilt does not come across the same. I just can't sing "Take me out to the Tilt" during the seventh inning stretch.
Souvenir Cups from Major League tilts
Catch of the day,



  1. Love the post. I'm still not sure WHAT this version, the sports version of the word TILT means. Does it refer to and/or take the place of the words game or match or show-down?

    1. It's the game. Finding words is a game to me, but I don't think I could substitute tilt in that.