Sports

What's TWTW, anyway?

Ask a White Sox player about the team's signature catchphrase of 2013, TWTW, and you'll get a vague, if not slightly confused, response.

"It is what it is," said second baseman Gordon Beckham. "For us, it's not a motto. It's a funny thing that we think is funny and it's just one of those things you want to keep around. It's just a team camaraderie type of thing."

Ask the brains behind it, longtime Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, and you'll be taken back in time about 60 years.

"My mom started that with me when I was 11 years old," Harrelson recalled from his familiar perch in the broadcast booth at U.S. Cellular Field.

While TWTW, short for "the will to win," may have become popular in 2013, Harrelson says it originated in the driver's seat of his mother's car en route to then-young Harrelson's first Little League game in Savannah, Ga.

"I remember in the car going to Coke Field, she said, 'The most important thing honey if you're gonna play sports is you've gotta win. If some of your teammates don't wanna play hard, then you've gotta tell 'em to play hard and they've got to have a will to win.'"

His mother's advice has taken on a life of its own.

Harrelson unleashed the phrase during a televised interview earlier this season. Inspiration struck, he said, as he was driving to Chicago from his home in northern Indiana.

"I'm thinking about all these stats, the on-base percentage, the on-base-plus-slugging and all this and I said well, why don't they get a stat called The Will To Win? How are they going to measure that?" he asked, before answering his own question. "I said with TWTW. That's where it came from. I had to have a category to whereas they couldn't put a number on it. Because you can't put a number on that. It's impossible."

Harrelson's unquantifiable statistical category has become a popular hashtag on Twitter, a phrase used by other sportscasters to describe teams in other sports, even a T-shirt in the White Sox clubhouse.

When pressed, Harrelson says TWTW is the kind of stat you can measure only with your eyes.

"Where do you put a number on, you've got me or Kirk Gibson or someone who's gonna knock [the fielder's] ass into left field on a double play, and he knows that," Harrelson said. "So I'm coming in on him, he knows he's gonna get hit. But he stands there, turns it over, makes the throw and takes the hit. How do you put a number on that?"

And in a sport so heavily predicated on numbers, Beckham says the one statistic they can't put a number on could be key to turning around the last-place squad's fortunes.

"I think we need more of it," he said.

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Learn to speak Hawk
    Learn to speak Hawk

    It's easy to get confused when watching a White Sox TV broadcast, as play-by-play man Ken "Hawk" Harrelson has his own language. We're here to decode the most popular "Hawkisms."

  • Harrison Ford 'banged up' but recovering from plane crash
    Harrison Ford 'banged up' but recovering from plane crash

    Harrison Ford crash-landed his World War II-era airplane on Thursday after losing engine power, suffering serious but not life-threatening injuries as he used his years of piloting prowess to bring down the plane on a golf course and avoid nearby homes in what one expert called a beautifully...

  • Judge finds probable cause that ex-boyfriend raped escort
    Judge finds probable cause that ex-boyfriend raped escort

    A Chicago woman identified by prosecutors as an escort testified Thursday that she was raped by a former boyfriend after he used a fake identity to evade her online screening process and then showed up at her home in a disguise that included a beard, dark makeup, sunglasses and a turban.

  • 3 boys, 2 men wounded in separate city shootings
    3 boys, 2 men wounded in separate city shootings

    Three boys and two men were wounded Thursday in separate shootings on the city's Far South, South and Northwest sides, police said.

  • Unions sue to halt Rauner's move to withhold 'fair share' fees
    Unions sue to halt Rauner's move to withhold 'fair share' fees

    State employee unions on Thursday sued to block Gov. Bruce Rauner’s attempt to withhold fees unions receive from nonmembers, calling his executive order a “patently illegal” attempt to weaken organized labor ahead of new contract negotiations.

  • Garcia promises to remove red light cameras on first day in office
    Garcia promises to remove red light cameras on first day in office

    Mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia promised to remove the city's controversial red light cameras on his first day in office, casting the automated ticketing program as a “rip-off” effort from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Comments
Loading