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Hot seat?

中国日报网 2013-04-23 15:20


Reader question:

Please explain “hot seat” in this sentence: “Here are five coaches who are on the hot seat going into next season.”

My comments:

This means that those five coaches may, among other things, lose their job some time during the next year, or playing season.

Usually when a team coach is described as in the hot seat, you understand that their team has been struggling on the playing field. Expectations from fans and management, which are huge, are not being met. The coach is hence under pressure to turn things round soon.

Hence, in short, life in the so called hot seat is not comfortable.

To say the least, that is.

These days, we mostly hear of people landing themselves in the managerial hot seat, be it a coach of a sports team or a CEO from a struggling business firm.

And, tell you what, they’re having it easy. These people in or on the hot seat lose their jobs at the most – and they can often get another job any time soon (and hopefully a better and less pressure-filled one too).

But, originally, those on the hot seat faced much worse – death itself to be exact. The original “hot seat”, you see, refers to the electrical chair on which an American prisoner sits before they turn it on and he is executed.

So there. Get the picture?

Sorry for asking you to visualize the scene but you get the point.

Alright, here are recent media examples of people who find themselves in the hot seat, which is a popular American idiom and metaphorically can be used in various pressure situations:

1. Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann is under investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics is looking to allegations of misusing campaign funds during her 2012 presidential run. According to the Washington Post, Peter Waldron, who worked as Bachmann’s national field coordinator, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the lawmaker of using PAC funds to pay her campaign staff.

Her attorney, William McGinley, says they “are confident at the end of their review, the OCE Board will conclude that Congresswoman Bachmann did not do anything inappropriate.” The review is expected to last 30 days, during which four board members will decide whether to refer the matter to the full Ethics Committee.

After the Congresswoman’s numerous attempts to repeal Obamacare, and her anti-muslim witch-hunt of Hilary Clinton’s top staffer, it’s nice to see Michelle Bachmann spending some time in the hot seat.

- Michelle Bachamn is in the hot seat! ThomHartmann.com, March 26, 2013.

2. Barclays faced a growing outcry over the British bank’s admission that it attempted to manipulate interest rates, setting the stage for a political battle centered on a bank whose American chief executive, Robert Diamond, frequently has been a target of U.K. lawmakers.

In a settlement announced Wednesday by U.S. and U.K. regulators, Barclays admitted that its traders attempted to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, and agreed to pay fines totaling $454 million. Barclays is among a group of global banks being investigated by U.S., U.K. and Asian authorities for alleged wrongdoing in interest-rate-setting. It is the first to reach a settlement.

Mr. Diamond and other top executives met last week with Barclays board, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting, and agreed to forgo their multi-million pound bonuses in hopes of blunting criticism of the bank’s actions.

But the bonus sacrifice didn’t satisfy politicians and some shareholders, who on Thursday pressured Barclays and the 60-year-old Mr. Diamond to provide a more-detailed explanation and suggested there should be tougher consequences.

Investors pummeled Barclays stock in trading Thursday, sending the shares down 16% in London, dragging down other bank stocks.

“As far as the chief executive of Barclays is concerned, he has some very serious questions to answer today,” said George Osborne, the U.K. Treasury chief, during remarks to Parliament Thursday. Mr. Osborne added: “What did he know and when did he know it? Who in the Barclays management was involved, and who therefore should pay the price?”

The head of the opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, called for criminal prosecutions. “We need the full force of the law brought against those who have done wrong, and if they are found guilty and if their offences warrant it, they should go to jail,” said Mr. Miliband.

The dust-up will soon land Mr. Diamond on the hot seat, as he will appear before a special committee of U.K. Parliament to respond to questions about what went wrong. The panel’s chairman, Andrew Tyrie, said he wants to press Mr. Diamond on whether “the culture of Barclays has been cleaned up.”

- Barclays CEO Is on the Hot Seat, Online.WSJ.com, June 28, 2012.

3. This much is for sure: In the coming weeks, NBA front office denizens from coast to coast will spend time digesting the season that was. They will tell those of us in the fourth estate that they’re considering all options, that they’ll be out to make the right decisions for the future of the franchise in question. And then heads will roll. Maybe a lot of them.

Coming into the wind-up of this season, an exceptional number of coaches find themselves on the hot seat—there are nine whose job security is at least tenuous, if not outright eroded. Not all nine will be gone, of course, but it’s safe to assume that there will be more open jobs than usual this offseason. And with a limited number of potential candidates out there, the scramble for coaches figures to be fast and intense.

Potentially in the market:

Bucks. What had been a promising start for Milwaukee under interim coach Jim Boylan (they were 8-3 in his first 11 games) has gone sour, with the Bucks losing 11 of their past 16 games and Boylan clashing with point guard Brandon Jennings. Boylan was brought on to replace Scott Skiles, and the Bucks might have been inclined to keep him, but the team’s late swoon should mean they’ll look elsewhere.

Suns. When the team hired Lindsey Hunter as an assistant last offseason, the presumption was that he would be groomed for the head coaching job, which he was given on an interim basis after Alvin Gentry was removed. That could still be the plan in Phoenix, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Hunter has gone 10-27 as the coach of the Suns, and that they’ve lost 14 of their last 15.

Hawks. Larry Drew has been the most successful Hawks coach since Lenny Wilkens, and will lead his Hawks into the playoffs for the third straight season. But with new general manager Danny Ferry trying to remake the franchise, Drew’s days could be numbered. His contract runs out at the end of the season, and Ferry could look to pluck someone from the Spurs’ coaching tree—he hired Mike Brown in Cleveland, remember, and could either turn to Brown or try to pry Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer away from Gregg Popovich.

Cavaliers. Byron Scott has been nonchalant when it comes to his future in Cleveland, but speculation is rampant that he will not be retained after the season. Scott walked into the impossible job of coaching the Cavs post-LeBron, and he has forged a good relationship with star guard Kyrie Irving. But with the Cavs having gone 64-161 in three seasons with Scott, the team might seek a change.

Clippers. Yes, LA has clinched its first Pacific Division crown. The reward for Vinny Del Negro could be a pink slip. Del Negro has been on the hot seat almost since his arrival, and with his contract up this year, the Clippers are expected to seek out a bigger name. Del Negro could coach his way into keeping the job by leading the Clippers deep into the playoffs, but if that does not happen, the team will make a change. It has a big free-agent pitch to make to point guard Chris Paul, and he will likely have some say in picking the next coach.

Pistons. Lawrence Frank’s name has come up in connection with the vacancy at Rutgers, which would bring him closer to his home in New Jersey. Frank said he hasn’t had any contact with the school, but should he leave the Pistons, the team will be looking for its seventh coach in the past decade.

Kings. With players expressing their dismay over Keith Smart’s rotations and the Kings on their way to the lottery for the seventh straight year, Smart would normally be on an exceedingly hot seat. But the Kings don’t yet know who their owner will be or what city they’ll be playing in next year, and they might not get that answer at the Board of Governors meeting this month. Because so many big things are unsettled, Smart might skate by and have another crack at the job next season, the final year on his contract. But if a decision on the franchise’s future is made quickly, the Kings’ new owners will have time to make a coaching change.

- NBA coaches in trouble: Byron Scott leads group on hot seat, SportingNews.com, April 9, 2013.




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.



Off color?

Tighter ship?

Jumped the shark?

Against all odds

If you play your cards right

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:陈丹妮)



Tried and true


If you play your cards right


Against all odds


Jumped the shark?


Tighter ship?


Off color?

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