This is a terrific congruent conflation of “missed the boat” and “dropped the ball”, both meaning to have made an error or mistake. Maybe the speaker was experiencing an earworm of that 1974 song “Rock the Boat” by the one hit wonder group Hues Corporation. In any event, this double whammy can be used to describe the mother of all mistakes. A big thanks to Marcia Riefer Johnston who sent this one in and is a new malaphor follower. By the way, she has a great website, http://writing.rocks. Check it out!
This jumble was apparently uttered by Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin a few weeks ago in response to the running backs situation. It is a mash up of “dip a toe in the water” (to test or try out something) and “make (something) stick” (to cause to be accepted). “Throw dirt enough and some will stick” might also be in the equation. Given the Steelers first performance, apparently the line was made of teflon. Thanks to Dan Geier for overhearing this one on the radio.
I heard this one on an NFL broadcast years ago, describing a player who was knocked out by a ferocious hit. The malaphor is a mash up of “dropped like a rock” and “out like a light”, both meaning to get knocked out immediately (although the latter also means to go to sleep quickly).
I think the brain twists drop and kick together and comes up with this excellent malaphor. I have heard this one several times so the synapse must be weak….