“I broke your ankles” and “I put you on skates”


“I broke your ankles.”

“I put you on skates.”


LP is an adult male college graduate who grew up in Beverly Hills, CA attending the public schools in the area.

LP shared with me a traditional insult he would hear in his games growing up in Beverly Hills, CA while playing lacrosse. Both of these phrases are used when an athlete has outmaneuvered his competitor. They refer to a falling motion caused from having to quickly change direction (either the collapse that would come from one breaking their own ankles or if they were using roller skates and subsequently fell). He shared that these are phrases learned from fellow athletes while in high school. These phrases are used as a celebration for beating out an opponent and a way of sharing this success both with your own team and the opposing. LP also reported that these phrases were not considered unsportsmanlike by parents and coaches, but rather were encouraged.


The fact that these phrases were learned from fellow athletes during high school highlights the transmission of folk speech within the social context. The shared experience of playing lacrosse contributes to the perpetuation of these types of insults and expressions, creating a unique cultural marker. It was interesting to hear that the surrounding adults did not condemn the usage of these insults. This suggests that such expressions of triumph and competitive banter are deemed acceptable and even embraced by the larger community of Beverly Hills.