A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 06, 2011
“A tie game is like kissing your sister”

"Like kissing your sister” means something that is perfunctory, without much pleasure. The saying “like kissing your sister” has been cited in print since at least 1892. Since at least 1918, it applied to drinks without alcohol. In the 1940s, it was said that drinking tea (instead of coffee) was like kissing your sister.

In college football, an old saying is that a tie game is “like kissing your sister.” Navy assistant director of athletics Edgar E. “Rip” Miller said “kissing your sister” in 1949, University of Kentucky football coach Paul Bryant was credited for it in 1952, and Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz was credited for it in 1953.


Wikipedia: Tie (draw)
To tie or draw is to finish a competition with identical or inconclusive results.
(...)
The unpopularity of ties in American sports is reflected in the saying, “A tie is like kissing your sister.” The earliest known use of the phrase was by Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz after a scoreless tie against Duke in 1953.

Wikipedia: Edgar Miller
Edgar E. “Rip” Miller (June 1, 1901 – January 1, 1991) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. Miller played college football as a tackle at the University of Notre Dame from 1922 to 1924. He was a member of the “Seven Mules” line that blocked for the famous “Four Horsemen” backfield on Knute Rockne’s national championship team of 1924. Miller served as the head football coach at the United States Naval Academy from 1931 to 1933, compiling a record of 12–15–2. After stepping down as head coach, he remained at Navy as line coach until 1947 and then was the assistant athletic director there from 1948 until his retirement in 1974. Miller was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1966. Five of his Notre Dame teammates are also enshrined in the Hall of Fame: fellow “Mule”, Adam Walsh, and each of the “Four Horsemen”, Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden.

23 June 1892, Postville (IA) Graphic, “Wit and Wisdom,” pg. 5, col. 5:
Reading a typewritten letter from your sweetheart is like kissing your sister.—Kate Field’s Washington.

Google Books
September 1918, American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, pg. 76, col. 2:
A TANGLESS ONE, MAYBE.—“A New York man,” says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “who read what the darky said about our soft drinks tasting fine while going down, but not having any authority after it got down, says in New York they say it is like kissing your sister.”

15 Oct. 1931, Lime Springs (IA) Sun Herald, pg. 3:
Come to church next Sunday. Do not substitute radio or some similar service for the regular church service. Listening to a radio service is like kissing your sister, it fails to give the proper stimulation.

Google News Archive
26 February 1932, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, “African Highball Artist on Stand,” pg. 1, col. 1:
“African highballs,” served without liquor, are palatable but “weak like kissing your sister,” according to complaints a patron made to Jim Young, negro bartender who operated a pool hall and safot drink parlor at W245 1/2 Trent alley.

Google News Archive
23 May 1940, Calgary (Alberta) Herald, “The Doctor Says” by Logan Clendening, M.D., pg. 4, col. 3:
After knowing what good coffee is, I am expressing a purely personal opinion when I say that drinking tea is like kissing your sister.

25 August 1949, Chester (PA) Times, “Lady Reporter Loses Plea For Female Footballers” by Inez Robb, pg. 22, cols. 1-2:
I have this on the word of a Mr. Edgar E. (Rip) Miller, a very high type muscle man who is assistant director of athletics at the U. S. Naval Academy.
(...)
Far from being satisfied with holding Army to a 21-to-21 tie last year, Mr. Miller was very disgusted.

“Just like kissing your sister with your best girl standing by,” he said, disdainfully.

5 December 1952, Middlesboro (KY) Daily News, pg. 2, cols. 4-5:
“LIKE KISSING SISTER”
LEXINGTON, Ky. Dec. 5—Kentucky’s 14-14 tie with Tennessee marked the eighth deadlock in the 59-year-old series and the most points scored on the Vols by the Wildcats since 1935. U. K. Coach Paul Bryant once mused that “a tie is just like kissing your sister.” Care to bet that he still feels that way?

9 November 1953, Washington (DC) Post:
Navy coach Eddie Erdelatz came up with a classic definition for a tie football game…—“It’s like kissing your sister.”

13 January 1954, New York (NY) Times, “Sports of the Times” by Arthur Daley, pg. 34:
“‘What is the coach’s emotional reaction to a tie ball game,’ he says.  I answer without thinking.  ‘It’s like kissing your sister,’ I say. After a while I get a bit proud of that crack. But then I see it in print and it doesn’t look as gay, as flippant or as innocent as I meant it to be. Then I’m flooded with letters and protests until I now wonder what constitutes a quotable quote.”
(Eddie Erdelatz, football coach of Navy—ed.)

26 November 1954, New York (NY) Times, pg. 37:
“It’s like kissing your sister,” said whimsical Eddie, phrasemaker extraordinary.
(Eddie Erdelatz, football coach of Navy—ed.)

Sports Illustrated
January 03, 1955
Soundtrack
(...)
At one time or another, Adolph Rupp, who coaches winning basketball teams at the University of Kentucky, has been described as “brash,” “ambitious,” “arrogant,” “ruthless” and “overbearing.”

After a Kentucky team defeated Georgia last year for the umpteenth straight time, Rupp announced that the victory had been devoid of pleasure. “Beating Georgia,” he complained, “is as ridiculous as kissing your sister.”

Sports Illustrated
May 09, 1955
Skull ‘em! Hip ‘em! Score!
(...)
“After you see lacrosse,” said Rip Miller, athletic director at Navy and one of the Seven Mules of Notre Dame, “other spring sports are like kissing your sister.”

Google Books
Darrell Royal Talks Football
By Darrell Royal with Blackie Sherrod
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
1963
Pg. 106:
Even Abe Martin, the TCU philosopher, has said, “A tie is just like kissing your sister.”

Time magazine
Essay: Sweet and Sour Grapes
Friday, Nov. 15, 1968
“A tie is like kissing your sister."—University of Washington Football Coach Jim Owens. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Thursday, October 06, 2011 • Permalink