carry the ball

Idioms & Phrases

carry the ball

Take charge, advance a cause, as in In our lab any of the assistants can carry the ball. This usage comes from such sports as football, where the ball-carrying player gives the team yardage or a touchdown. By the early 1900s it was being transferred to other endeavors.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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