English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My high kicks are not done in a line!

The above sentence appeared as a legend in a T-shirt I saw once. It accompanied the caricature of a soccer player warming up, but I didn't get the pun intended. When I told a friend of mine about this, he said that the joke might have to do with a certain expression from ballet ... I hope that you can shed some light on this enquiry of mine.

share|improve this question
Whoever downvoted this, stand and unfold yourself! – José Hdz. Stgo. Nov 11 '12 at 22:12
Not ballet but a chorus line, like the Rockettes. – StoneyB Nov 11 '12 at 22:20
Thanks a bunch, StoneyB. However, I'm afraid that I still don't get it. What's a "high kick" in soccer jargon? Besides, those downvotes make me think that there is an offensive connotation of the expression, but I'm failing to see what it might be... – José Hdz. Stgo. Nov 11 '12 at 22:31
In soccer, a "high kick" is a kick well above the ground--typically waist level or higher--which in a referee's judgement inadvertently imperils another player and therefore constitutes prohibited "dangerous play". – StoneyB Nov 11 '12 at 22:40
@Carlo_R: I know that questions may or may not be upvoted... Besides, I wouldn't have raised any hell had this particular question not received any positive votes. What prompted me to enter that first comment is the fact that I don't find it that fair to downvote stuff without leaving any type of feedback for the OP. – José Hdz. Stgo. Nov 11 '12 at 23:40
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As others have mentioned in the comments, "high kicks" can refer to moves performed by a dance team; for example, these dancers are doing high kicks in a line:

enter image description here

However, the wearer of the T-shirt does her "high kicks" like this:

enter image description here

I think the shirt is just meant to playfully say, "I'm an athlete, not a dancer!" by making veiled references to the football (soccer) field and dance floor.

I'd also guess the T-shirt was meant to be worn by a girl, since boys don't typically high kick in a line, or proudly proclaim that they feel more at home on the athletic field, as opposed to the dance floor.

share|improve this answer
"Typically", but ... – StoneyB Nov 12 '12 at 1:18
@StoneyB: Sure, but in that case, I'd expect one of those guys to wear a shirt that reads, "My high kicks are done in a line!" – J.R. Nov 12 '12 at 1:24
Think they'd wear what they're wearing if they had a choice? – StoneyB Nov 12 '12 at 1:30
Nice illustrations! A picture is worth a thousand words indeed. This is the first time I've seen an illustration in ELU. =) – Damkerng T. Nov 12 '12 at 14:13
@DamkerngT.: You should visit more often then. You must have missed the famous umbrella question. We're not on the wrong side of the tracks; pull up a chair and stay for awhile ;^) – J.R. Nov 12 '12 at 16:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.