On the bubble?

中国日报网 2016-10-25 14:15



On the bubble?Reader question:

Please explain “on the bubble” in this sentence (LakersNation.com, October 22, 2016): “World Peace is entering his 17th NBA season, although he is currently on the bubble of making a roster spot out of Training Camp.”

My comments:

First of all, World Peace, Like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, is a person.

Metta World Peace, that is. Formerly known as Ron Artest, World Peace is a professional basketball player on the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.

Yes, World Peace is on the same team as Chinese player Yi Jianlian, who, by the way, is, or was also on the bubble of making the team out of training camp, i.e. making the formal team to play in the regular season which begins, as a matter of fact, tonight, local time (tomorrow in Beijing).

Yes, but “on the bubble”?

That means World Peace (and Yi, too) is (or was as the story is two days old) on the brink, the thin line separating one group from another. To wit, World Peace either can make the elite group or fall down to the also-run or not-so-good group – to be eliminated from further competition.

“On the bubble” is an American idiom which, like many, is easy to remember once you understand exactly what it means. Imagine a pot of water on bubbling point. Right at this moment, the water on top of the bubble has two directions to go, one going up and evaporating, the other going down and joining the rest of water in the pot.

See the picture?

So, metaphorically speaking, people who are on the bubble are on the point of becoming very good. Or, equally likely, they will go downhill and remain mediocre.

Therefore, depending on your outlook, being on the bubble means you are in a precarious position. As all bubbles tend to bust, people who are on the bubble are also ready to fail and collapse if anything goes wrong.

Fortunately, all turns out well for World Peace. At the time of writing, World Peace is safe. The Lakers has decided to keep him.

As for Yi, the news is not so good. The Lakers has decided to cut him and let him go.

Which means, when all is said and done, that Yi is currently not very good by NBA standards.

Reportedly Yi had been looking for more playing time with the Lakers. Unable to get that, he and his agent asked the Lakers to release him – so that he may look for greener pastures elsewhere.

That means Yi remains ambitious, which is, all things considered, encouraging.

So, best of luck to Yi – and Metta World Peace.

Here are media examples of things and people who are living on the bubble – either to distinguish themselves from the crowd or to fail at any moment:

1. At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, a gong will be struck at the Fox News headquarters in New York. At that moment, the five most recent national primary polls, “as recognized by FOX News,” will be averaged, and the top 10 Republican presidential candidates will get invites to the network’s prime-time debate Thursday, the first of the season. (Full disclosure: I don’t have any actual evidence that a gong will be used.)

So which candidates are likely to make the prime-time debate and which are destined for the “JV” event (if our assumptions about which pollsters Fox News will use for its average are correct)? To get a sense for just how random the results can be depending on where you draw the line, we looked at the current five-poll average — as if the debate were being held Aug. 1 — as well as the previous four times the average was updated as new polls came out. A new poll has been released every few days3 over the past few weeks. These averages reveal that some candidates are basically shoo-ins; others are very unlikely to make the cut. Then there are the “on the bubble” candidates, in one day and out the next. For them, who gets in to the prime-time debate will likely be as much about luck as about where they truly stand with Republican voters.

- Four Republicans Are On The Bubble To Get Into The First Debate, by Harry Enten, July 31, 2015, FiveThirtyEight.com.

2. There is living in a bubble – a condition I am increasingly in favor of with every election cycle, every commercial for “Chrisley Knows Best,” every time my fillings are knocked loose by a neighboring car with its speakers set on stun. Then pile on all the other assorted contemporary noise that assaults us.

Find me a bubble in which to escape – at full salary – and I happily will climb in and curl up.

Then there is living on the bubble. This is an uncomfortable state of standing astride a thin film of possibility. It’s always precarious. It’s always a balancing act, between hope and elimination. And more often than not, the bubble always seems to go, “Pop!” leaving you sprawled and sore.

This is a familiar condition if you are a fan of, well, just about any sport, college or pro, currently played within a 75 mile radius of Philips Arena.

In particular now there are the men’s basketball programs at Georgia and Georgia Tech.

Both are entering their conference tournaments having teased their constituency with some fine work lately. Tech has won five of its last six. Georgia is on a three-game SEC win streak. The only problem being all the dreary basketball that preceded this sunny trend.

So, taken together, the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets are a combined 18-18 within their conferences, the very selfie of mediocrity. Tech’s RPI – however that magical number is derived – is 70. Georgia’s 72. Yes, right on the cliff’s edge where borderline teams argue for a spot in the NCAA tournament’s field of 68.

Both Georgia and Tech are capable of making much-needed runs in their conference tournaments to shore up their big tournament arguments. I am a big believer in the power of seniors at this time of year, and older, experienced leadership is the single blessing these teams have to count upon.

Or they may crap out in the first game. Neither scenario would be a total shock. And that is the very definition of life on the bubble.

- Steve Hummer’s Further Review blog, MyAJC.com, March 6, 2016.

3. The TV world is a strange, wonderful place lately. Up is down, The CW is winning Golden Globes and renewing its entire line-up, Amazon is winning Emmys and there’s a berth of TV everywhere you look. But not ever network is The CW and as the competition for eyeballs rages across platforms, there are tons of shows on the cancellation bubble.

From long-running fan-favorites like ABC’s Castle to newcomers like CBS’s Life in Pieces, there’s a wide variety of shows left in jeopardy. The bubble watch gallery breaks all the chances down with ratings and casting intel. Find out what’s already been renewed and what’s too soon to tell right now and then find out your favorite broadcast show’s bubble status.

- Which TV Shows Are Still in Danger of Getting Canceled? EOnline.com, March 16, 2016.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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