How about a punch in the face?


Today because I was antsy before the 3:30pm playoff game, I tuned in to some inconsequential college basketball game between two teams I didn’t care about whatsoever. One of them was Oklahoma and I don’t remember the other. Well I’ve commented on this before, but I’m growing concerned about what I see as the inappropriate affect demonstrated by athletes in all sports celebrating a nice play. It used to be that a nice basket, or a TD, or a homerun or a goal was celebrated by a small acknowledgment by others that you’d done nicely. Originally, it may have been a simple head nod from a teammate – as if to say “that was nice, but it is your job too, so I’m not going to go overboard here”.

Eventually, that gave way to the high five and some more overt demonstration of joy. I think of 60’s or 70’s basketball players with socked jacked up to their knees and shorts that were little more than glorified jock-straps. I think of their high fives after a nice play – maybe an awkward jump into the air of jubilation. That’s about it. Still, back then positive plays were generally met with smiles, happiness, joy.

Fast forward to the last decade or so and something has shifted. It’s rare for an athlete now to make a great play and show a form of joy or happiness afterward. What you see instead is a painful fist bump or an even more painful chest bump coupled with the inevitable face of anger. Lots of aggressive pointing, screaming. No smiles, no happiness, just a portrait of anger despite the positive play.

As I was watching the game today, after a particularly nice basket by one guy, his teammate ran full speed and offered a chest bump – a collision that the guy who scored will feel tomorrow – and then they both made angry, defiant faces at one another. What were they so angry about? His basket was in fact a critical basket in the game.

So anyway, this has made me start to wonder, what will be next in this line of inappropriate affect celebrations? There has been a progression (regression?) from minimal acknowledgment to muted joy to outright joy to apparent anger. What’s next then?¬† How about a punch right in the face? Guy scores a fade away 3 pointer to win the game, or makes a one handed TD grab – how about sprinting over and taking a swing at him? Then maybe spit on him. Seems possible. Seems it would convey the apparent anger that some of these guys want to convey in a far more direct an efficient way.

Funny flip-side to this whole thing is that when these same athletes screw up seriously hurting the chances for their team what do they do? Smile of course.

4 Responses to “How about a punch in the face?”

  1. mark Says:

    Lol -and furthermore college b-ball sucks ass- all the good high school players go strait to the pros.-but its like that in all levels-and all sports ‘xept maybe hockey(they let them actually fight there)- great celebration-mediocre play -cultural devolution.

  2. dreampipe Says:

    My only problem with these ridiculous displays are that they are complete wastes of valuable energy that should be applied to playing the game well. Just think if these physically violent outbursts meant to be exultant and celebratory gestures were replaced instead by fierce competitveness and athletically shrewed gameplay. If I were a coach I would have guys run suicides for every element of extraneous and unnessecary contact levied at themselves or one another… unless of course my guy hits a game winner against a top 10 team or in tournament play. If not, keep your composure, dammit. It’s a long season.

  3. Kozak Says:

    I liked the attitude of Chuck Noll. He told his guys if they scored or made a big play, they were not to celebrate, make the other team feel it was no big deal that they were going to be doing that all day.

  4. Gbpfan Says:

    I like what that handshake the Pack do. They didn’t do it so much this year, but it was pretty popular last year

    Go Pack Go!

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