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Taking one's lumps? 默默忍受

中国日报网 2020-05-29 13:37


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence, particularly "lumps": He knows how to take his lumps in public.

My comments:

First of all, this means he, whoever, knows how to handle himself in public, especially when he's down. Specifically, for example, if he does something wrong. he's good sport enough to admit it and accept criticism without complaint.

That's what we can safely infer from someone taking their lumps well.

Lumps are things you want to, as it were, lump together, i.e. without bothering to further differentiate because they're uninteresting. Taking one's lumps, an American idiom, may better be learned together with another expression, like it or lump it.

Yes, this means willingly or unwillingly, you've got to take it. In other words, if you like it, enjoy it. If you don't like it, bear with it. Again, we can appreciate this phrase using food. If it's a delicious piece of meat, you like to chew it and savor it for a moment before swallowing it bit by bit. If it's a lump of unsavory meat or vegetable, you tend to swallow it in whole, i.e. without bothering to find out exactly how it tastes.

Metaphorically, "lump" may stand for anything that's uninteresting or unpleasant, be it unsavory food or any other type of difficulty or adversity. Taking one's lumps means taking one's set back or punishment, suffering the consequences of one's conduct without fuss.

In our example, taking one's lumps means "he" handles himself well in public, taking criticism with good grace and humbleness, for example, without complaint.

All right, here are more examples of "taking one's lumps" to further illustrate the point:

1. Even during one of their staged fights, Drake Bell is no match for his Drake & Josh co-star, Josh Peck.

"Trust me,” said Bell, 22, “we’ve been hurt.”

The young actors have tussled for years on their Nickelodeon sitcom. And the hits keep coming: The latest TV-movie sequel, Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh, will be shown repeatedly today on Nickelodeon.

The happy, seasonal story aside, the fictitious stepbrothers still slap each other around for the sake of comedy: If there’s a pratfall to be done, the two will provide it.

Bell is the sort of guy whose ribs seem almost visible through a tight T-shirt. Peck is taller, with a few more pounds on him.

The matchup is hardly fair.

"That’s when it’s funniest,” said Bell, who tries to hold his own.

"Whenever we have scenes where we have to wrestle -- where he’s on me -- we go full force,” Bell said. “We’re always elbowing each other and getting hurt.

"But that’s what you do. It’s kind of an everyday occurrence.”


Bell was accustomed to physical comedy long before starring on his Nickelodeon sitcom. As a regular on the kiddie sketch series The Amanda Show, also on Nickelodeon, he often tripped up for the audience.

The results weren’t always pleasant: Once, he slipped and sliced his back on a railing, he recalled.

"That was probably the worst injury I’ve had while trying to do something funny.”

Fight scenes give Bell greater pause these days, but he still takes his lumps well. He’s even OK, he said, with his character’s inability to fight.

"He’s a lover, not a fighter.”

- For ‘Drake & Josh,’ bruises part of job, Dispatch.com, December 25, 2008.

2. Fourteen-year-old Morgan Tuck had just completed her first photo shoot, commissioned because she was selected as the youngest Ms. Basketball of Illinois in the prestigious award's 24-year history.

The freshman sat in the middle of the court where her high school career started less than five months ago, her 6-foot-2-inch frame curled up next to Bolingbrook's Class 4A championship trophy, and admitted she wasn't always so precocious.

The tears of joy that flowed at Redbird Arena in Normal three weeks ago with the state title had been, only four or five years earlier, tears of frustration while playing on a summer-league basketball team with her older sister, Taylor, and current teammate Ariel Massengale.

"Ariel and I were point guards, and she used to make me cry in practices because she would always take the ball from me," Tuck said with a laugh. "I would never play. I would sit on the bench, and if we were up by 20, I would go in for the last 30 seconds. That's what I remember from when I first started."

What will be remembered from the 2008-09 girls basketball season was the swift emergence of the unassuming new star who won the award, presented by the Chicago Tribune and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, a year earlier than previous youngest recipients. Stevenson's Tamika Catchings won as a sophomore in 1995, and eventual three-time winner Candace Parker won as a Naperville Central sophomore in 2002.

In Ms. Basketball voting by coaches and media across the state, Tuck defeated runner-up Adrienne GodBold of Marshall by 32 points. Four others also tallied more than 75 points -- Wheeling's Ashley Wilson, Geneva's Taylor Whitley, Fenwick's Tricia Liston and Lincoln-Way East's Kersten Magrum.

Tuck averaged 18.7 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots to lead Bolingbrook to a 25-4 record, the 4A title-game victory over defending champion Young and among the top 10 in national rankings by ESPN/RISE (No. 3) and USA Today (No. 5).

The rookie forward caught national attention early as the Raiders finished second in the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix over winter break, but it was her performances on Illinois' biggest stage -- when she totaled 35 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots in the IHSA semifinals and final -- that solidified her position as one of the state's best players.

"It was one of my goals that I wanted to accomplish before I graduated," Tuck said. "It feels really good to accomplish that at a young age. It makes me want to work harder so I can do better and get Ms. Basketball again next year. And just improve."

Competitiveness literally runs in the Tuck family. Taylor, a year and 11 days older than Morgan and a sophomore on Bolingbrook, remembers when she and her sister would race around the house as children just to see who would come out in front. Everything from card games to Monopoly to bowling earned bragging rights. And anything Taylor did, Morgan insisted she would do too.

The sisters were afforded the spectrum of childhood activities -- dance, soccer, softball, volleyball, track, piano, saxophone and drums. But it was basketball, their father David's sport of choice at Ferris State, that stuck with Morgan Tuck so much that she'd pull on a hat and gloves in the middle of winter to shovel the snow from the family's basketball court so she could play.

She started as a 7-year-old on an 8-year-old team and played up a club level or two every year until 8th grade. That meant she was one of the smaller players on the four state-champion summer-league teams coached by her father and often took a back seat as her skills developed. While she coveted the post position occupied by her sister, she was kept at point guard.

"I remember her once coming home from practice meltdown-angry at her father because Taylor could play center and she could not," said Lydia Tuck, her mother. "She took her lumps for a while."

Those lumps turned out to be stepping stones. As Tuck began to grow into a bigger build by the 7th grade, the experience of playing against older opponents began to pay off. By the summer before 8th grade, while Taylor Tuck and Bolingbrook prepared for what would become a 2008 4A runner-up finish, Morgan led her team to a 12-under national title.

"She was always playing two years up," Taylor Tuck said. "Now that she's playing older girls, it just comes natural to her. She's not nervous. She's comfortable playing against anybody. I think it's a big part of why she's so good now."

- Breath of fresh air, Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2009.

3. You know who’s loving life right now? Just, like, top of the world in every way? No, not Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I mean, she is, but she’s not the answer I was looking for (watch “Fleabag,” though). No, the person I was thinking of is Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander.

Since leaving Detroit for H-Town back in August 2017, Verlander has won three division titles, one American League pennant, one championship series MVP and a World Series. These are his mind-blowing stats during his time in Houston: 42-15 record, 2.45 ERA, 633 strikeouts and .837 WHIP. The more analytical stats tell a similar story, with a 179 ERA+, 3.00 FIP and a truly absurd K/9 rate of 12.1.

This year, he finds himself in an extremely tight race for the AL Cy Young Award after a phenomenal season in which he put up a 21-6 record with a 2.58 ERA, .803 WHIP and 300 strikeouts. His competition? His teammate Gerrit Cole, who finished his seventh season at 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, .895 WHIP, and 326 strikeouts. Again, these guys are on the same team.

Verlander’s three-year run of success is a microcosm of the Astros’ over the same period of time. From 2017-2019, Houston is 311-175. That’s a winning percentage of .640, and their combined run differential (often a good predictor of postseason success and the actual quality of a team) over this run is +739. Unbelievable.

Perhaps the craziest thing about these Astros is just how bad they were merely six years ago. They finished 51-111 in 2013, the worst record in the majors by 11 games. It was their fifth consecutive losing season, and while they would improve in 2014, they still finished 70-92.

But those in baseball circles saw what the Astros were building. What they saw excited them. The cover of the June 30, 2014, issue of Sports Illustrated features outfielder George Springer and the caption “Your 2017 World Series Champs.” The article details how the Houston front office based many of their ideas on the “Moneyball” philosophy popularized by Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane. However, unlike the constant retooling Beane does, the Astros took their lumps for years before they found success. The years of failure made Houston the laughingstock of baseball.

But they kept with it, and it paid off in spades. Through the draft and the minors, the Astros built one of the most formidable cores in the league. They brought stars Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez through their farm system, as well as former Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who won a Cy Young Award while with the team.

- The Astros are soaring to historic status, by Matt Singer, October 3, 2019.


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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