Can we finally end the postgame handshake line ritual?
There is no more hollow and meaningless gesture in sports, and today it caused a brawl after Wisconsin beat Michigan 77-63. During the this charade of sportsmanship, Juwan Howard expressed his displeasure with Wisconsin coach Greg Gard for calling timeout with :15 left.
There was some verbal unpleasantness, and then Howard swung an open hand at Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft, connecting with the side of his head. More punches were thrown in an episode that could easily have been avoided with a few minutes to calm down before the team might finally shake hands outside the locker rooms instead of immediately following the game.
But there aren’t any fans or cameras in the bowels of the various arenas and gyms where basketball is played, so audience-less scenes of sportsmanship would be wasted.
Yes, adults should have been adults and avoided this nonsensical minimally violent incident, but if not for high schools and colleges who demand public displays of affection seconds after players and coaches try to beat the hell out of each other, the opportunity for this fracas would never occur.
For those who believe this doesn’t happen very often, It happened to my New Albany High School soccer team against Trinity, my wife’s Bishop Noll High School basketball team against Gary Roosevelt, and my son’s Cathedral High School basketball team against Arlington. That’s three-for-three in the Sterling Family – shockingly none of us were the cause.
It would be great if there existed an administrator with the guts to ends this foolishness instead of blaming the players and coaches for being human enough to act on their hot tempers when they are at their peak.
It’s not that I’m against sportsmanship. I’m not. I’m against fights, and the handshake line is the cause of way too many fights.
Handshake lines will continue because administrators just love to sit in pious judgment of those who compete. So Howard and others will certainly be suspended as a disincentive to fight instead of the permanent and logical correction of halting the idiocy of hollow handshakes.