pick up sides

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hubocfcool

Senior Member
Chinese
" On the village green, where you pick up sides and no feeling of local patriotism is involved, it is possible to play simply for the fun and exercise." (GEORGE ORWELL The sporting spirit)

What does "pick up sides" mean?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Actually, I think "pick up" here means "put together without planning or premeditation". So "you pick up sides" means "you select members of teams on an impromptu basis".
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    " On the village green, where you pick up sides and no feeling of local patriotism is involved, it is possible to play simply for the fun and exercise." (GEORGE ORWELL The sporting spirit)

    What does "pick up sides" mean?
    When I was younger the local kids used to play football, cricket or whatever on the village green (or the road.)

    Two of the kids became the skippers (captain) of two sides. The captains picked in turn one lad/lass at a time to be in his/her team.

    So; you then played a game for fun.

    We used to call it "pick sides", no up......

    GF..

    Perhaps Orwell got it wrong.. In my memory of long ago the matches played were deadly :) serious... We used to do this nearly every day when the weather was good enough, and when it wasn't, our mums used to come out and fetch us home.

    The good old days of yore and of eternal youth... :thumbsup:

    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/93713

    "On the village green, where you pick up sides and no feeling of local patriotism is involved, it is possible to play simply for fun and exercise: but as soon as the question of prestige arises, as soon as you feel that you and some larger unit will be disgraced if you lose, the most savage combative instincts are aroused…Nations work themselves into furies over these absurd contests, and seriously believe – at any rate for short periods – that running, jumping, and kicking a ball are tests of national virtue."
    George Orwell

    GF..
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    George, I don't think so....

    He appears to have been using the verb "pick up" in the same way as the adjective "pick-up" is used in this current article from The Telegraph:
    Loob, thanks for you link. A bit of research does reveal that pick up sides is widely used.

    I did some further Googling and I found many uses of pick sides as well. (No up)

    Here is one http://sports.in.msn.com/cricket/ipl-4/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5178756

    "We were smart enough to pick sides suited to Chennai conditions: Fleming
    Chennai: Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming feels that the team management was "smart enough to pick a side that suited Chennai conditions" which is the reason for the team's unbeaten run at home stretching to seven matches."

    It is nice to find out that I was wrong and right.

    GF..

    Still learning new tricks.... :)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm more familiar with "to pick a side", too, George - I had to do quite a bit of investigation before concluding that G Orwell was using "pick up" in a way that was unfamiliar to me....:cool:
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The normal phrase is choose up sides, but that author, as has been noted in another thread, is apparently determined to shun widely understood language.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The normal phrase is choose up sides
    I've never heard choose up sides, Parla - I expect that's another AmE/BrE difference....

    Out of interest - and because it could be relevant:) - what's the implication of the "up" in choose up?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    When I read Orwell's "On the village green, where you pick up sides ..." I thought it was a BE variation of the AE "choose up sides."

    I wouldn't think he's using "pick up sides" to mean "pick-up sides" which I presume are sides that are "picked up" by choosing sides, if you catch my meaning. ;) If he were, there would be no "you" in front of it and it would resemble the other quoted passage: "... the opponents have usually been pick-up sides ..."

    Out of interest - and because it could be relevant:) - what's the implication of the "up" in choose up?
    Who knows? :D I think it's like the "up" in these, which is optional but adds a certain something:

    We saved up our money to buy Christmas presents.
    He was chained up in the basement for a week.
    They chose up sides for the volleyball match.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I wouldn't think he's using "pick up sides" to mean "pick-up sides" which I presume are sides that are "picked up" by choosing sides, if you catch my meaning. ;) If he were, there would be no "you" in front of it and it would resemble the other quoted passage: "... the opponents have usually been pick-up sides ..."
    Sorry if I was confusing:(. I was just comparing Orwell's verb "pick up" with the adjective "pick-up" as support for my suggestion that the verb probably contained the idea of "without planning" or "ad hoc"....

    The normal verb, in BrE, would be George French's "pick" - which is why I was interested in the fact that the normal AmE verb has "up" in it.

    Ah well, perhaps someone will come along who knows the definitive answer on what Orwell meant!:D
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Sorry if I was confusing:(. I was just comparing Orwell's verb "pick up" with the adjective "pick-up" as support for my suggestion that the verb probably contained the idea of "without planning" or "ad hoc"....
    I'm easily confused ... so thanks for the clarification. :)
     
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