Language is a funny old thing. Every language is littered with a number of sayings that we hear all the time, but we don't really have a clue where they came from. Sport can play a part in everyday lingo too. Phrases such as 'saved by the bell' (which originated in boxing) have become part of the vernacular our the years.
This does not just apply to English, with examples being found all over the world. But what if I told you that Championship side Leeds United had actually shaped a phrase commonly used in the Korean language?
You would probably think I was mad, but according to this post on Reddit, this is something that actually happened.
The post describes a word commonly used in Korea, which is often used when people refer to what they were like in their prime. When the poster was curious as to where the phrase originated from, he dug a little deeper on the subject. What he found out is absolutely bizarre:
I'm Korean-American, and for around the past 2 decades or so, there's been this expression called "리즈 시절," which means "during my prime," "golden age," almost always used by women who use it as "during the height of my beauty," etc... Even 50 y.o.'s, hell even 70 y.o. grannies will sometimes use this expression fairly regularly...
It's pronounced "ri-jeuh" and I knew how to use it obviously, but never knew wtf "ri-jeuh" actually meant. I thought it would be something like 아르바이트, pronounced roughly ar-beit, which means part-time job, apparently a German word that the Japanese and Koreans adopted for some reason. You know, just some foreign word that became a loan word in a random country.
Anyway, hearing it for the 500th time in my life, I just got curious enough to korean wikipedia it out of the blue just last week just to at least know the etymology.
It's referring to Leeds (Ri-Jeuh) United, and the funny thing is I'm fairly certain damn near 100% of Korean women don't even know Leeds United is a football club at all, or that there's a city called Leeds at all.
According to the article, it started off with a handful of Koreans online talking about Alan Smith in his prime as "Alan Smith's era in Leeds," which then shortened to "Leeds Era," and through the magic of internet memes entering the mainstream language, now it's mostly used by Korean women to refer to back to the days when they were hot before they got kids, gained weight, got wrinkles, etc...
Now that I know the context, every Korean girl using this expression to talk about when they were hot especially after they've gained a bit of weight just sounds like they were an ambitious talent who once played for Leeds United but are just going through a rough patch in life, and I can't stop cracking up now, and they're completely clueless.
Incredible. So basically, there was a time when Koreans spoke about the Alan Smith era being Leeds' prime. That phrase eventually got bastardised to become 'Leeds' by itself, with the term becoming synonymous with when something was in its prime.
Click onto the wikipedia page and read it for yourself (with the help of google translate).
You couldn't make it up. If Leeds do miss out on promotion this year, at least they will still be big over in South Korea. Even if nobody over there actually knows it...