Answer Me!

Here’s something I never understood: the term “unanswered.” You know, like “The Caps now have two unanswered goals.” I mean, I get the whole concept of answering back with goals or runs or whatever, but I feel like commentators use it wrong like 90% of the time. Maybe I’m just an idiot (no one answer that), but allow me to pose a scenario…

Okay say its Pens vs Caps. Winter classic rematch. Pittsburgh takes an early lead, scoring their first goal 5 minutes into the first period. 1-0 PIT. Some time passes and Ovechkin gets one by Fleury and makes it look easy. First period ends tied.

Second period: Washington scores again, this time on a power play, making it 2-1 Caps. At this point the announcer proclaims “The Capitols now have two unanswered goals.” Do they, though? How can the score be 2-1 and there be 2 unanswered goals? Wasn’t Washington’s first goal an answer to Pittsburgh’s first goal? How can the same goal provide an answer and pose a question at the same time? By the commentator’s logic, if the Penguins score again, the Caps still have 1 unanswered goal, even though the score is tied…

I am hesitant to make any accusations because – as I have discovered in the field of engineering – if you think you’re the first one to come up with it, it’s probably wrong. But this has been on my mind forever, so now I move to strike, Charlie Kelly style. I challenge someone to prove me wrong in saying that the Capitols only have 1 unanswered goal.

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4 thoughts on “Answer Me!

  1. well by the announcers’ logic, goals seem to equal questions and so teams answer questions with other questions. that’s all I got, otherwise you are correct

  2. interesting pez. ive never really thought about it. id say youre right though. it definitely doesnt technically make sense, and i think the term is overused in general. i think the only time it should be used is if a team is losing and then they come back to take a large lead (like 3+ goals). if the caps scored four straight, id say they scored four unanswered, because the pens havent answered any of their goals.
    heres another idea though. you notice that this term is only used when a team recovers from a deficit to take a lead. you wouldnt say the caps have scored 8 unanswered if the score was 8-0. this would technically be the only correct usage of this term because you wouldnt have the dilemma of deciding whether any of the goals were questions or answers. ponder that.
    by any means, we all know what commentators/people in general mean when they use the term unanswered. but you definitely bring up a good point.

    • thanks sopeski. i definitely agree with the 8-0 scenario being the only correct usage, technically. but yeah, you do usually hear it used during a comeback, and even though everyone knows what they’re talking about, it’s just one of those weird things

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