Kentucky Wildcats English Lesson: Irony versus Coincidence

At work, I often find my English grammar corrected. Sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. Typically, it involves incorrect past participles, conjugation of verbs, ambiguously vague pronouns, and then there are all the misspellings that Microsoft Office won’t catch… (you and I both know that if Google can guess my searches, Microsoft Office can guess that I didn’t mean to type fun instead of fan).

My birth in the 1980’s and subsequent formative years during the 1990’s didn’t help the eventuality of the inability to grasp the English language either, as I was left quoting the 1995 Alanis Morissette song as my reference on Irony versus Coincidence, only to find out the ironic part of the song is that there was in fact no irony, but only coincidence.

To fight my ignorance and the miseducation that millions of others in my demographic learned through Ms Morissette, I turned to one George Carlin. His take was explained with one simple statement and an example:

Irony deals with opposites; it has nothing to do with coincidence….For instance: If a diabetic, on his way to buy insulin, is killed by a runaway truck, he is the victim of an accident. If the truck was delivering sugar, he is the victim of an oddly poetic coincidence. But if the truck was delivering insulin, ah! Then he is the victim of an irony.

Tonight, we take a sports fan’s inquiry into this little English lesson on the difference between coincidence and irony:

– To start we turn to the below picture of this Billy Gillispie tee shirt, made to honor his time at Kentucky. This tee-shirt in and of itself it is not ironic, it is an accident or something the makers regret. Now, if Billy Gillispie  was arrested wearing a shirt that said Billy Gillispie Era, honoring his legend at Kentucky, yet at the same time marking it in a significantly disrespectful, sad way, it would be ironic.

Billy GillispieTeeShirt


– Kentucky winning the national championship the year after Pitino left, coincidence. Rick Pitino stating that Kentucky is “Camelot”, endearing. National Championships being won at Louisville and by Rick Pitino, ironic.

Apr 10, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino addresses the crowd of fans at the KFC YUM! Center during their celebration for winning the NCAA Men


– Three former Kentucky basketball players were arrested over this NBA off-season, coincidence. Charlie Strong setting Five Core Values for Louisville football players but playing Michael Dyer, ironic.

Sep 14, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals running back Michael Dyer (26) runs the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Louisville defeated Kentucky 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports


– Being at the Governor’s Cup in the visiting teams section, coincidence. Having a girlfriend wear Kentucky gear to the Kentucky game, smart. Having that same girlfriend also be a die-hard Indiana fan, ironic.

– The fact that I have likely written a 500 word article on the correct use of the English language, yet made many grammatical mistakes, yes…ironic.

Tags: Football Kentucky Wildcats Louisville Cardinals

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