Days of Wonder

Given their long history of choking in the crunch, it's fitting that the most elegant euphemism for sporting failure was invented by the English. You used to hear it all the time on BBC radio, when an England side was beaten, at Wembley or Twickenham or Lord's; at the final whistle, or wicket, a commentator would put the defeat down to "the glorious uncertainty of the game."

The phrase has fallen out of use in recent years. These days, aggressive journalistsóand impatient fansówon't take inexplicability as an excuse. So much emotion and money is invested in sports, blame...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!