phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: My bad

Posted by RRC on August 27, 2009 at 16:58

In Reply to: My bad posted by r.dafremen on August 27, 2009 at 15:06:

: Has anyone brought up the possibility of the expression "my bad" originating with the game of spades, often played by inmates who also played basketball? When playing spades, a player is expected to bid as accurately as possible so that he and his partners don't accrue "sandbags" which eventually (upon receiving 10 of them) result in a penalty of 100 points. When we would play, back in the mid-80s, if you underbid your hand and got your team a "sandbag" or "bag" a common way of acknowledging that the mistake was yours was to say to your partner.."my bag"..an apology of sorts. It's quite possible that this was later misinterpreted as "my bad" and on the b-ball court as an acknowledgment of having messed up.

I understand that you're mentioning basketball just because the article on this site says the first print use was in a book on basketball, but I'm not sure what prison has to do with it. Also, you get sandbags\bags by overbidding, not underbidding. Getting 10 bags and thus the 100 point penalty is "bagging out".
In a friendly game to 500 points (perhaps this is where prison comes in - unfriendly games to 1,000,000 points?), getting a bag (or even up to 9 over the course of the game) often isn't that bad. It does add 1 point each to your score (aw, we got 61 points when we could have had 70 if I'd only bid better), you haven't underbid and lost points, and you may have taken a trick that your opponents needed making them lose points. If you've made your opponents lose points 10 times, the 100 point penalty is probably worth it. ;-)
If you overbid by more than one trick, you would get more than one bag. Did your prison friends say "my bags" when they overbid by 2? ;-)