As I watched McAlester’s football team destroy Noble Friday night, the word “catharsis” came to mind. Negativty, frustration and sadness had been hanging over the team’s heads through the first three games, and this game released all of that in one fell swoop. As “catharsis” means the release of long-held emotional tensions, it seemed like the perfect word.
Most of my friends and family like philosophy/theology/psychology, or they just read a lot and remember good words (or both), so most already know what catharsis means. But I had a hunch far fewer of myMcAlester News-Capital readers would know it. As evidence, when I asked a few of the coaches if they’d heard “catharsis” before, they said no.
When I explained the meaning, however, they agreed that this game served as a catharsis for the team.
I did ultimately use the word in my story (not in the online version, alas), following it with a colon and an explanation of what I meant, at least as far as the game went. And then I put in a quote from a coach backing up my word-choice.
Do journalists have to write for their readers? Absolutely.
But maybe it’s o.k. to teach a few new words along the way.
Here’s everything I wrote this week.