As long as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West will the hi-five continue to reign as man’s go-to celebratory gesture.
Few things feel better than slapping five the right way. You can practically sink your teeth into the crisp tactile response you get from a flawless palm-to-palm collision. It’s addictive.
On the other hand, hi-fiving is high risk, high reward. No matter how ancient the gesture seems, mankind as a whole has yet to manage a firm handle on its proper mechanics, and like splitting atoms, the consequences of a botched fiver can be breathtakingly catastrophic.
The following are some spectacularly terrible hi-five/handshake moments in sports. They each have their own level of awfulness, and they all prove that good intentions don’t always come with matching execution.
Something that will become very clear after this slide show is the fact that our “muscle memory” as human beings isn’t very good at remembering things.
For example, this high school baller unconsciously extended his arms after a free throw, but they didn’t go near anyone willing to help him out. The only way this would’ve displayed the full range of unconscious motor reactions would’ve been if his opponent had reacted by giving him five.
Awfulness Level: Calling your girlfriend “mom."
Louis Oosthuizen hit an albatross (double eagle) at the 2012 Masters, but couldn’t manage to land a halfway clean fiver with his caddy in celebration
It was a remarkable moment in sport, and we’ll all look back on it fondly, with Chariots of Fire theme music playing in our heads.
Fan: “Hey Rodgers! ROD-JAHS! Discount double che-aaaahhhhhh!!!” *Thud*
Rodgers: “I’m not dealing with that.” *Runs off*
Awfulness Level: Dreaming you were really drunk and fell out of the stands trying to hi-five Aaron Rodgers at the Packers game, but then you wake up bruised on your buddy’s futon because it wasn’t a dream at all.
Easy, Shane. It’s a hi-five, not a manticore.
Shane Victorino wasn’t prepared when Koji Uehara entered the dugout in a fiver frenzy, and he spooked something fierce when the pitcher’s hand started coming his way.
Awfulness Level: Bug flies in your face and you squeal like a girl, only to find out it was a ladybug.
Shooting free throws for a technical foul can be a lonely situation. It’s just you and the basket, that is, unless you’re Gary Neal.
The Spurs guard always brings Casper, Manuel the bawdy ghost pirate and other imaginary friends to the line when he’s shooting free throws, judging by the invisible hi-fives he dished out.
Awfulness Level: Taco Bell mild sauce.
We do not laugh at children here at B/R. That is against company policy.
We chortle at them, which is different. It involves a mirthful guffawing from deep within the lungs, a fire burning in the hearth and a flagon of mead spilling heedlessly on a bearskin rug.
That being said, some jowls certainly shook in the room these viewers were in when they saw these two half-pints go for their secret Leafs handshake and end up playing patty cake instead.
Awfulness Level: Rain on Memorial Day.
The 2011 Carrier Classic between North Carolina and Michigan State gave soldiers and fans the opportunity to watch two elite teams duke it out on a hardwood floor on top of the USS Carl Vinson.
However, of those few and proud emerged a choicer cut of individual: the two men who had the distinction of blowing a handshake opportunity with Barack Obama.
Not many people get to watch basketball live on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Fewer still ever experience what it feels like to have the leader of the free world miss their weak attempts at a handshake as he walks past in a bomber jacket.
Awfulness Level: "Excuse me..." *Waiter walks out of room*
Nothing like a bit of news programming that makes you want to crawl in a hole forever.
An anchor at the Brazilian soccer network SporTV forgot one of the most pivotal characteristics of blind people when she offered her hand to a visually impaired man who came as a guest to her show.
She meant well, but you really have to do your homework when you’re dealing with a blind individual you knowingly invited into an interview.
Awfulness Level: Alexis Normand’s “Star-Spangled Banner” rendition.
Few mortals could ever pull off a hi-five fail with a quarter of the slickness Phil Jackson managed to muster up after offering a fist-pound to a distracted Kobe Bryant.
Jackson manages to turn this embarrassing moment, turning his neglected fist into a nonchalant “Just scratching the face...nothing to see here” maneuver with a single deft movement.
Awfulness Level: Slipping on a banana into a full-blown moonwalk out the door.
You say tomato, I say tom-awful.
Is there anything worse than extending a fist for a pound and getting a paper-covers-rock handshake attempt in return?
Yes, there is—it’s doing that very same thing on national television, as Bobby Valentine and Herm Edwards managed to do during this SportsCenter segment.
Awfulness Level: Saying goodbye to someone and then walking in the same direction.
This hand isn’t going to shake itself.
After being marooned in mid-introduction by cohost Todd Grisham, WWE sportscaster Matt Striker took his lemons and made lemonade by shaking his own hand.
Thank God for improv class, right, Striker?
Awfulness Level: Waving back at someone, only to find out they were waving at a person behind you.
To this day, the elephant walk/hand clasp shared between Kevin Love and Wes Johnson during a 2010 game remains in the annals of NBA history as perhaps the most troubling hand-based exchange of all time.
A perfect storm of laziness, poor timing and preparation, Johnson and Love played out this graceless farce before the eyes of stunned spectators, before ending it all with a catastrophic hand clasp.
It was the Hindenburg of hi-fives, and the moment their hands gripped together like spaghetti, Kevin Love knew it was one of “tragic moments in Minnesota sports history.”
Awfulness Level: You make a late night run to the drug store, and when you come back she’s asleep.
Too many hand grenades will do this to your hand-eye coordination.
Awfulness Level: Powdered coffee creamer.
Even the weirdo with the purple gloves got some.
All Joe Cole wanted was a bit of love from Didier Drogba—just a little slap and tickle from Chelsea’s scoring dynamo. It didn’t happen, and the look on Cole’s face after being left stranded in hi-five purgatory is worth a thousand words.
Awfulness Level: "Today's in-flight movie will be Sex and the City 2..."
Tiger Woods’ chip on 16 at the 2005 Masters was one of the best shots ever struck in the history of golf.
His celebration with caddy Steve Williams, however, was like watching children bobbing for apples—they were excited, but they really weren’t cut out for this.
The two botch the first attempt up high, and then try again at middle range. Woods wants the slap-and-grasp, while Williams is just trying to provide him with something—anything—at this point, and they end up just finger tapping each other and walking it off.
Awfulness Level: Warm Miller 64.
Retired thoroughbred jockey Willie Carson stood idly by as this interview was conducted at the Epsom Derby, but he made his move at the end—cackling and grabbing for a hand like the Mad Hatter.
No, we’re not related, but if Carson and I were kin, I would’ve called him up and ragged on him for trying not one, but two awfully limp handshakes at the conclusion of this interview.
Can’t knock him on the top hat, though. That’s beautiful.
Awfulness Level: “Is Pepsi okay?”
Remember when failing looked like winning?
God bless these Clippers dancers. Being hot and coordinated is a tall order, and every single stunt can’t be perfect. Regardless, some strange person out there somehow managed to spot this biffed handshake between two of the ladies bobbing and weaving in the front row.
And for that, we give thanks.
Awfulness Level: Pulling a back muscle, but having it massaged by a chiropractor who modeled for Tempe 12.
“WOOH! Big winners, baby! Up top!”
*Forearm collision* *Failure*
“Yeah! Close enough!”
Carry on, Formula 1 bros. No one saw that in high definition.
Awfulness Level: Driving off from the drive-through window. Forgot to ask for ketchup.
Shaun Kenny McDowell and Mitchell Aubusson of the Sydney Roosters attempted to celebrate a try with a congratulatory hi-five, but the end result was nothing but air.
Awfulness Level: Salting the snail.
After the Badgers managed some on-field heroics, backup Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien just wanted to share the love with someone.
Unfortunately for Tolzien, all the good fives were already being slapped. It was either that or no one recognized him without his practice team penny on.
Awfulness Level: Lunch with Steven Glansberg.
Two Texas Tech students go up top to fiver a totally choice moment at a football game and come up short, resulting in forearm grabbing and an angry kid with a mushroom top.
Also worthy of noting is the double-hand hi-five between the guys in the bottom right of the screen. Never splay the fingers when you’re slapping five. These are rules for life, everyone.
Awfulness Level: “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.”
After hitting his first home run of the 2012 season, former Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds was prepared for the silent treatment his teammates would shower down upon him and headed straight for the tunnel.
What he didn’t realize is how completely forsaken he had left Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who floated his hand out there in congratulations like a big happy balloon.
The best thing of all things was Showalter’s response to being disregarded, which included a “Welp, go team” fist shake.
Awfulness Level: *Texts girl to ask if she wants to meet up for drinks*
*Three hours pass*
“Sorry! Was talking to my grandma. Maybe next time!”
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie took celebration to the next level after the Eagles defeated the Cowboys to earn their spot in the 2008 NFL playoffs.
Caught up in the rapture of the moment, Lurie abandons selective targeting and begins to hi-five anything that moves. Unfortunately for his wife, Lurie’s sensors picked up her facial movement on the grid and launched a five her way, whacking her unceremoniously in the head.
Awfulness Level: Accidentally smacking your spouse is an awfulness level all its own.
Two Wales supporters celebrated a try against France the only way they apparently know how: a flurry of openhanded swipes aimed in each other’s general direction.
Even the commentator didn’t know what to make of this wildly uncoordinated exchange.
“Watch the reaction of this. This is what it means...that is what it means.”
No one knows what it means, but it got the people going.
Awfulness Level: Four-hour car drive with a guy named Trent who only listens to Dubstep.
Sifting through the burning wreckage that was this “hi-five” between NFL Network analysts Brian Baldinger and Sterling Sharpe is a chore I can barely bring myself to do.
There were no survivors left to be found after Sharpe said they were “N’ Sync” and continued to do the least in-synch hand joining of all time. It was a mess.