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Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Bill Simmons, aka ESPN's Sports Guy, regularly publishes a steaming pile of writing he calls a "mailbag". It's entertaining, but rarely has much to do with sports. But here he stumbles across the truth.
[E]ach sport has its own unique celebration to some degree. Here they are:

Baseball: Walk-off hit followed by a circle with dudes jumping up and down in unison.

Football: Guy dances by himself as teammates watch him.

Basketball: Guy struts back up the court after a big shot, makes the Tony Montana "sticking out the lower jaw trying to look like a badass" face, preens for the crowd and eventually gets chest-bumped angrily by other people his size.

Hockey/soccer: Scorer gleefully skates/runs away from the goal and gets mobbed by teammates.

Golf: Awkward fist pump after a putt, followed by an extremely awkward high-five with a caddy.

Tennis: Guy sinks to his knees like he's absolutely incredulous (even if he's not).

Here's my question: Are we happy with these matches of sport and celebration? For instance, I'd love to see baseball players adopt the tennis celebration: hit a homer and just sink to your knees in complete shock for five seconds as everyone angrily stares at you. Wouldn't it be more fun if the winning tennis player sprinted 40 yards like a soccer player and acted like a crazy person? What if a golfer and caddy did a two-man jump-up-and-down celebration like baseball players after a walk-off?

Also, why are we so content with the celebrations we have? I love Ovechkin's self-check into the boards. It's fantastic. Why couldn't someone like Chris Paul make a big shot, wait for the timeout, run over to the scorer's table, then stage-dive into his sea of teammates like they're a giant mosh pit? Why couldn't a golfer hand his putter back to his caddy and his caddy could pretend to be electrocuted by it? Maybe the golfer could pretend that he's also being electrocuted, and they could stand there vibrating for a couple of seconds? We need more clever celebrations heading into this next decade.

Track's celebration? Drape self in flag, jog victory lap. Bo-ring.

Usain Bolt broke out of this mold and it's a big part of his tremendous popularity. His celebrations are pure joy. Berlino helped a few other athletes do something different and made news in such non-track places as Kent Jones' Just Enough feature on the Rachel Maddow Show.

Recently, Blanca Vlasic has taken to doing weird European disco moves after making a big height. At the Zurich Weltklasse meet, Yelena Isinbayeva went berserk when she set her world record, but that doesn't really fall into the category of clever. Remember when Mo Greene had someone use a fire extinguisher on his shoes? Now that was entertaining.

Yes, we need creative celebrations.

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