Sports Traditions That Need to Go
Traditions are the bedrock of organized sports.
The chants, cheers and symbolic events player and fan bases love are what make sports more than just plain old entertainment, and separate sports nuts from the wine connoisseurs and book club creatures of the world.
Traditions are taken seriously in the world of sports, but that doesn’t mean all sacred cows are created equal.
Truth be told, there exists a number of recurring activities fans and players partake in that just don’t make sense or add anything to the game.
The following is a list of those kind traditions—the played out, the questionable and the nonsensical.
And it's time to show them the door.
The Removing of the Jersey in Soccer Celebrations
Key West, Florida—talk about the proper place to pop the top off and give the pistons a breath of fresh air. Maybe climb in the rag top jeep, stab a Capri Sun or five.
You know, make a day of it.
But taking your jersey off in the middle of a soccer match is unnecessary and punishable by a yellow card. Everyone else keeps their tops on during the game in other sports; it’s time for soccer to follow suit.
Captains Holding Hands for the Coin Toss
No, homophobia is not the reason this tradition needs to go.
Seriously, I don’t care if football players come out of the tunnel doing cartwheels in the Lane Bryant spring line if that’s the way they truly feel team unity, but the “Permian Panthers” hand-hold of Brotherhood—something I had to do as a football player in high school—only came about because we all watched Friday Night Lights and got a big rubbery knob for the symbolism of brotherhood it suggested.
It wasn’t our idea, and it had no special bearing on our situation, but we ended up doing it for every game. It was cool the first time, but now the brotherhood has been watered down and sold off for parts by teams everywhere—particularly on the professional level.
We get it, you’re brothers—brothers who sometimes hold out on the family and its training camps for extra cash.
Announcing Players' Names After Baskets in the NBA
I don’t care if they’re just doing their job, hearing a Michael Buffer-style announcement every time someone puts the ball in the basket is tiresome and only serves to add to the gimmicky circus feel of most professional basketball games.
We’re watching the game, we know who scored, so leave the cheering for the players to us fans.
And if we don’t know who scored, then we’re Justin Bieber, and we need to stop uploading cat pictures to Instagram and put the phone back in our “gender neutral” satchel.
The Super Bowl Half Time Show
I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again—nothing good can ever come of this.
Every year something happens at the Super Bowl halftime show—some young starlet flips off the camera, an aging she-harpy whips the nation across its collective eyes with a nipple horn and old bands we used to all love remind us of the horrible casualties we’ll all eventually experience in our battle against time.
It’s time to melt down the Plexiglass platforms, cancel the big bands and start fresh. I don’t care what you do. Have a traditional marching band and shoot off fireworks. Maybe put Billy Murray in a water-jet pack and have him hose down the fans and chase a bald eagle around the stadium.
Do what you got to do to entertain, but please, for the love of Vince Lombardi, John Madden and the Holy Butt-Fumble—end this madness.
Throwing Hats on the Ice for Hat-Tricks
I’ll doff my cap to you, good sir. But I shan’t throw it on the ice. T’would be bad form, indeed.
Unless it’s “Whacky Shmacky McHat Day” at the stadium and you’re all throwing papal crowns and top hats onto the ice, you’re really just dumping man-dander and scalp smell into rink when you chuck your cap over the boards.
The players might appreciate the gesture, but none of them are about to take your salt-ringed “Whereinthehellis Port Saint Lucie?” trucker hat home for the kids to enjoy.
First Down Celebrations
“A first down? All ten yards? But... how? Are you dehydrated?
Someone get this guy some paper towels and a Roman candle so he can wipe off all this victory and celebrate this most auspicious occasion like a professional. I’ve got a bag of Samoa cookies with your name on them, you bright-eyed go-getter.”
Get your a** back in the huddle.
Fan Hand Motions
Most fan hand motions at games are a lot like the double-decker taco in the back of my fridge—old and stale, but it’s still there and this bourbon isn’t going to soak up itself, right?
They might seem like a good idea at the time, but unless you’re actually “Number 1” in the nation or in the state of “O-H-I-O,” maybe take a step back and come up with a better way to express yourself.
Rushing the Court or Field
I’m not saying it’s time to do away with this one.
BUT—parameters must be set, rules must be hammered out and a Geneva Convention of sorts has to be agreed upon regarding when and where it is necessary and proper for a court rush to take place.
So let’s lay down a few basic Court Rushing Commandments.
1. Thou shall not rush if thou art ranked, no matter how recently thine ranking has come or how highly ranked the opposition.
2. Thou shall not storm the field of play unless thine opponent is ranked in the top 10.*
*Unless thine program is in Division II or III, and the vanquished opposition is ranked #11-25.
3. Thou shall not rejoice at mid-court or field if thou art a blue blood program.*
*Unless thine program has sucked the longest and strongest of big ones for an extended period of time, and the victory in question came through last minute heroics.
Now I haven’t worked out all the applicable fines for breaking these rules, but I’m leaning toward long suspensions from walking on wood flooring or artificial turf.
Baseball Players Shaking Their Own Teammates’ Hands
Sportsmanship—it’s what separates us from the animals.
But it does seem like shaking the hands of your own teammates after a game strays into the realm of overkill and insincerity.
If you have to congratulate everyone on the team, how does the handshake remain a special gesture? And what do you have to do to really convince someone they played a great game?
I guess you have to take them aside later and really shake their hand in order to drive home the point—maybe ask if they want to get lunch and go to Build-A-Bear sometime this weekend.
High Fiving for Missing Free Throws
Here’s a new rule—you get one hi-five for missing a free throw. For your whole life.
And that one high five comes in high school after your first miss from the line on the JV team.
After that...well, like we’ve all yelled at the screen before, “HIT YOUR DAMN FREE THROWS.”