PSA- Definition of Humbling

Submitted by chris1709 on June 17th, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Lower (someone) in dignity or importance. That is the 1st definition. 

I'm tired of athletes saying they feel 'humble" after achieving something great. For example; a pitcher throws a perfect game then says it was humbling. I don't think people understand what it means. Please tell me i'm not the only person annoyed by this.



June 17th, 2012 at 5:57 PM ^

Speakng of fortune cookies I always thought it would be great fun to put less than happy "fortunes" in a cookie and watch the results. Fortunes such as "You will die tomorrow in a horrible car accident" or "your wife is cheating on you as you read this" would make for an interesting lunch.


June 17th, 2012 at 6:06 PM ^

My best fortunte cookie experiene was when I was having dinner with my (then and still current) girlfriend back in college at some Chinese place in Ypsi. She opens her cookie and it says "You will find happiness with a new love." She starts laughing and teasing me, until I open my cookie and see that it reads "You will soon be relieved of a great burden."

Now, years later, she's not happy and I'm still burdened. Those cookies may have been on to something. (I kid, I kid.)

oriental andrew

June 18th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

Not just "a" player, but also "the players".  For instance, talking heads will talk about "the Tom Bradys, Peyton Mannings, and Brett Favres of the league" or "the Michigans, the Alabamas, and the Oklahomas of college football."  Come on!!! 

In your Carlos Quentin example, I'm totally ok with saying "a Carlos Quentin-type player," but not "a Carlos Quentin", unless there are multiple outfielding Carlos Quentins of high quality running around, in which case "a" or "the" are both acceptable. 


June 17th, 2012 at 6:57 PM ^

It actually really annoys me as well--there are a lot of words/phrases that are frequently misused, but this one irks me because people use it in a manner completely opposite to its actual meaning


June 17th, 2012 at 8:24 PM ^

When people start off the discussion (paper, speech, or other exposition) of a concept with its dictionary definition. Examples include:

"What is courage? Well, according to Webster's, courage is 'blah blah blah".

"You know what bothers me? When athletes misuse the word humbling. According to the dictionary, 'humbling' means 'blah blah blah'". 

It sounds trite and frankly cliche. You're not being insightful, either with the content or the presentation. If I wanted to know what the dictionary thought about issue x, I'd go look it up myself! Please, say something worthwhile. 



Also, people who don't remove the lint from the dryer after they're done using it. 



June 18th, 2012 at 1:35 AM ^

I also get bothered by people using "bias" in place of "biased", as in "that article was very bias".  I think that one bothers me the most because it happens frequently in otherwise well-written comments.


June 17th, 2012 at 9:29 PM ^

you know what annoyed me?  when i was living in gainesville and i would wake up on sunday with a hangover and all i wanted was something to eat so i would drive to chick-fil-a and it wouldnt be open.  I would do that every sunday, i never learned.  at least i dont have to be disappointed up here


June 18th, 2012 at 1:33 AM ^

On about 50% of all OT posts during the offseason, some jackass says, "I seriously can't wait for September," or something similar.

I may have broken a slight grin the first time, which was probably two offseasons ago.

P.S.  No offense to the offending jackasses.

rob f

June 18th, 2012 at 7:21 AM ^

I thought it was mis-labeled (missing the "OT" from the title)---when I saw the title, I was afraid that a fellow M-Blogger had gotten bad results from his doctor regarding his PSA exam numbers.  I suppose getting bad PSA #'s would be rather humbling, though not as humbling as that damn "glove test!


June 18th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

The use of the word humble is actually is a fascinating topic worthy of real discussion. It is easy enough to look up various definitions of "humble." I'll simply note that to be humble is to have the quality or characteristic of humility, considered one of the classic virtues.

When an athlete says they are "humble," it sometimes is code language for their faith. A key text for this comes from Philippians in the New Testament:  "Don't do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves." (Phil. 2:3.)

Conversely, the Bible has a ton of verses speaking against pride and arrogance. For example, Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance. (1 Samuel 2:3) and also, First pride, then the crash---the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (Proverbs 16:18.)

The movies are full of examples contrasting the arrogant with the humble. A favorite that comes to mind is The Gladiator. Maximus (Russell Crowe) exemplifies humility. He would not put himself forward as Emperor. Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) is full of himself, full of pride, full of ambition, full of arrogance, with no moral compass.

There is a lot of precedence for the quality of humility among athletes. Look for example, at Lou Gehrig's farewell speech when he retired from the New York Yankees:  "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky."

Lou Gehrig could have been bitter. Considering his accomplishments and ability, he could have been proud, arrogant, and condescending. But he exemplified the meaning of the word "humble." A humble athlete appreciates the gifts and talents they have been given. True enough, their hard work makes a  huge difference. But they consider themselves fortunate to have the leg speed or arm strength or hand eye coordination or size or whatever to excel.

Closer to home, Denard is a great example of a fine young man who is "humble." He certainly came from "humble" circumstances. In humility he has submitted to the changes Borges has asked him to make. He has never pouted, or complained, or put himself forward inappropriately. I would submit to you that the combination of Denard's ability, along with his humility and joy of life, is what endears him to so many fans.

In contrast, I wonder if Tate Forcier's pride or sense of entitlement led to his downfall. The same thing might be said of T. Prior, or of Ryan Mallett.

The contrast between pride and humility exists on the coaching front as well. I think Hoke exemplifies humility. He is keenly aware of his great fortune to be in the position of the Michigan head coach. He is not too proud to spend time working with the defensive line. In contrast, think of former ND coach Weis. His arrogance and pride and pomposity grated on most everyone, including Michigan fans.

What complicates the use of "humble" is that it has become a trite phrase, and is often not heartfelt when spoken by an athlete. Of course, we can't always tell what is "fake" humility and what is genuine. But if an arrogant athlete uses "humble" in a fake way, it is even worse than not using it at all. False humility is worse than honest arrogance.

Well, my comments have clearly morphed into the tl;dr category. For those who have read through my ramblings thus far, I'll close by saying that true humility is a winsome quality that reflects well on each and every one of us. And loud, prideful, boastful, arrogance? Not so much. Thankfully, under Hoke's stewardship and leadership, I don't see the latter happening often at Michigan.

Stephen Hawking

June 18th, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

when people make fun of me for screwing up to/too/two. Because I have to stare at a letter for a few seconds to type out what I want to say, I always type to when I want to vocalize to/two/too. It's handicapism when people make fun of me.