The nation’s sports broadcasters have seemingly discovered the term “wheelhouse”, so now it’s ruined for all of us, and we’ll just have to stop using it. The opening rounds of the current AFL season have been rife with wheelhouse references, which ultimately renders a previously useful and enjoyable term as untenable for common use. Just like the word “untenable”.
By definition, a wheelhouse is the part of a boat or ship that contains the vessel’s steering wheel and provides shelter for the driver or captain. Therefore, saying that something is in a person’s wheelhouse is akin to saying that it’s within that person’s control and/or capability. While an adapted version of the term has been in use in baseball for some time now, to suggest that something is within a batter’s hitting zone, it has recently gained popularity in footy and on the street in Melbourne.
Rarely renowned for original thought or concepts, footy commentators have no doubt picked up on this increase in popularity, littering their comments with it in the opening rounds of the 2018 season. Local footy fan Simon O’Connell is devastated by the development, telling The Watsonia Bugle, “I’d really only got onto the word in the last couple of months, and was using it a bit, quite enjoying it actually. But then I heard it at least four or five times over the weekend and on Monday night on Fox Footy, so it’s basically dead to me now. It’s a real shame.”