That's why I was shocked when I tossed off the word "chicane" this morning and my KCBS colleagues didn't know it. I used the word to describe a mess on the Bay Bridge, where a traffic accident had blocked a couple of lanes and forced drivers to do a little right-left-right evasive maneuver. (If you, like my colleagues, are baffled by the word, here's a full write-up.)
To me, "chicane" is just part of the sporting landscape. As a kid, I was always captivated by the exotic drama of Formula One racing, where chicanes are commonplace. It's not just F1, though--you'll find chicanes on all sorts of racetracks as a way to keep speed under control.
Check out the photo I borrowed from a sports-car racing club--the Corvette is leading the Audi through the chicane.
To those who say being a sports fan is a waste of time, I say, "never!" Imagine what it can do for your vocabulary.