My wife is a big Georgetown University basketball fan. She was relating a story about Tyler Adams, a huge recruit a few years ago who subsequently was diagnosed with arrhythmia and could not play competitive basketball. Instead of dropping his scholarship, the University gave him a medical waiver. He stayed on the team and earned his degree. My wife said, “they kept him instead of cutting him free.” We looked at each other and realized it was a malaphor moment, and I wrote it down immediately so I wouldn’t forget (the good ones tend to fade away…). This is a congruent conflation of “cutting him loose” and “setting him free”, both meaning to let go. The link contains a very nice story of Adams and his final regular season game as a Hoya:
This malaphor was heard last night by Mike Browning while listening to a Washington Wizards basketball game. The play by play announcer, Dave Johnson, said this: “… Crawford grabs the rebound, and the Wizards get another bite at the cherry.” Given the context, this is a mash up of “another bite at the apple” and “cherry-picking”, the latter a term used in basketball. “A bite of the cherry” is apparently an Australian and British expression meaning “being a part of something good”, but I don’t think Dave Johnson is Australian or British.