banging my brains out on the football field


Senior Member
‘....My parents have never been, you know, great readers. A few magazines, some diet books, a self-help manual or two … that’s it. I might have been the same way, if not for you. Just bangin’ my brains out on the football field, you know, with nothing ahead except maybe teaching PE in Giles County That’s in Tennessee.....’
Source: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams Stephen King

What is your interpretation of the bolded phrase ? For me it seems to mean that I have been striking the ball with my head when playing football. One has one brain only so why my brains in plural ?

Thank you
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The phrase in bold could mean "Just damaging my body repeatedly playing football". It is not specifically his brain he is talking about, which is one reason for the plural "my brains".

    The other is he seems to be using the standard idiom "banging my brains out". That expression usually means "having sex until completeley exhausted".

    If he is using that expression (but for football instead of sex) he is not concerned about injury. It is just a comment about exhausting himself every day through 4 years of college, without getting any education or knowledge from that huge amount of work.

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The plural "brains" is often used when the meaning is figurative. This is American football, so I imagine that he means that he used to collide with other players, rather than strike the ball with his head.
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