old college try

the (old) college try

An attempt to do something. I gave knitting the old college try, but I just didn't enjoy it. Give it the college try and I think you'll find that it's easier than you think.
See also: college, try
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

old college try

a valiant effort. Will made the old college try, but that wasn't enough to get the job done.
See also: college, old, try
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

old college try, (give it) the

Do the best you can, even if you think it’s a hopeless cause. This slangy Americanism dates from the 1930s when college football films became very popular in the United States. The phrase was one of the cheers intended to urge on a team that was falling behind or facing overwhelming odds. Transferred to other endeavors, it came to be used more or less ironically.
See also: college, old
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"They really gave it the old college try," a source told the news outlet.
Max and Annie aren't really action heroes, but they give it the old college try. Max tests a bartender by ordering a Harvey Wallbanger, then admits he doesn't actually know what a Harvey Wallbanger tastes like.
When they were born, their dad asked me if I knew how to make Osage baby boards, and I said that "no, I didn't know how, but I would give it the old college try".
I say 'work with' because I honestly wanted to contribute 100 per cent of my efforts and give it the good old college try. What sort of set the ball rolling was the phone call I received the week I joined the gym, back home in Johannesburg.
Even if it ultimately isn't for you, I think that every amateur astronomer needs to give rigorous planning and log-keeping the old college try. It might just enrich your experience more than you ever thought possible.
Two basketball documentaries air this weekend in advance of the NCAA tournament, with one earning championship honors and the other settling for the old college try. ESPN seldom connects the dots as well in examining sports' role in society--or the network's own enormous influence--than in "Requiem for the Big East," while CBS essentially delivers a somewhat diluted version of "Hoop Dreams" with "Summer Dreams," following various hopefuls as they go through the NBA Summer League.
"We didn't come up here to give it the old college try. We came up here to win the game and we didn't get it done.
As played by Larry Johnson, Chris is one of those sad sacks who you know isn't going to end up with the girl, but he sure gives it the old college try, and you have to feel a little embarrassing empathy for him when Sarah ushers him out of her apartment when Bob shows up.
I gave it the old college try, but realized no amount of detailed explanation was going to work.
He has delegated higher education policy to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based conservative think tank, which has produced an ideological blueprint for how the state's universities should be governed." - Old College Try, Texas Monthly
Even those who give it the old college try don't benefit from the experience.
So, the next time you set eyes on a gorgeous bombshell and decide that, after all, you're wearing your lucky socks, you should offer her a drink and give it the old college try ...
I don't know how possible this is for you, but if there is any way for you to make this happen, I suggest you give it the old college try. You say that you can't afford to move, which I can certainly understand, but electing to stay there when you need to go is only going to exacerbate the pain you're feeling now and may feel in the future.