Such Brave Indians

The handshake is a tradition that has literally gone hand-in-hand with good sportsmanship for centuries. It puts to rest all competition that takes place on the field and creates an environment of respect between two athletes.  You and I may have butted heads for two solid hours–pulled on each other’s jerseys, grappled at each other’s limbs, and for certain grunted and cursed at each other like barbarians.  But at the end of the game, when the clock ran out, only one of us could claim victory. No matter who won, we met mid-field and shook hands.  And always, two words of recognition were voiced: “Good game.”

“Good game.” It’s as simple and cliché as, “Thank God it’s Friday.”  It recognizes that we gave it our all.  That we spent ourselves into exhaustion for the good of the team.  And so we shook hands, and called it a day.  Sure, one of us was happier than the other, but in that neutral zone of respect we honored one another’s hard work. Evidently though, for some, shaking an opponent’s hand can be a pretty complex task.

Let me explain in detail the intricacies of performing the handshake:

Step 1) Place your hand in the hand of another person’s.

Step 2) Shake.

Really difficult. Must take years to master.  In fact, if you’re in college and still having problems knowing when and how to shake someone’s hand, then no need to worry—we completely understand you’re just not there yet.

Take for example what occurred January 1, 2015 at the end of the Rose Bowl football game.  The Oregon Ducks had handed the undefeated Florida State Seminoles a decisive victory that, by anyone’s account, could be defined as a spanking. Fans knew the game would be competitive, but no one really expected it to be lopsided.  Oregon won 59-20.  But spankings in sports are not unusual.  In fact, they’re quite common.  A couple months ago, the Kentucky men’s basketball team spanked Montana State by a score of 86-28. In last year’s Super Bowl the Seattle Seahawks spanked the Denver Broncos 43-8. And then there was my son’s little league team that got a major spanking in the end of the season playoffs 16-2.

In sports, even at the end of a good spanking, athletes shake hands and say, “Good game.”  Sure they’re worn out and beat up with blisters, bruised forearms, sprained ankles and jammed fingers.  The end-of-the-game handshake is an accurate barometer of an athlete’s character, especially of those of the losing team.  It’s not always easy to walk over there and shake the hand of the guy who gets to take the trophy home.  In fact, it’s not always easy to say, “Good game.”  But when the losing opponent does, it speaks volumes of his or her character.

Unfortunately for many players of the Florida State football team, that element of character was non-existent after they received their spanking.  Apparently, the pain of losing (the Seminoles had won 29 consecutive games up to this point) was just too much to endure and so they had to quickly march off the field and head to the locker room where I’m assuming their trainers could address their wounds.  But all the trainers had to do to help these players was suggest they go back out onto the field and shake the hands of the Oregon players.  Pride can be difficult to swallow. In the case of Florida State, swallowing their pride was simply out of the question.

In all fairness, there were some Seminoles who hung around after the game to shake hands with the Oregon players, and to them we salute you.  But to the rest of you who showed your true colors and opted to flee the field with no character intact, we hope you find within yourselves some sort of regret for how you acted.  After all, your immaturity was broadcast nationwide for millions of people to witness. Following each game of your undefeated season you had stayed on the field and shook the hands of all of those players who lost against you. You spanked the pants off of Wake Forest 43-3, and guess what? This may blow your mind, but those guys stayed around after the game and shook your hands.  Oh, what brave souls to muster such courage!!

Seriously, you’re grown men with incredible athletic talent…how difficult is it to perform the handshake?  Let’s review:

Step 1) Place your hand in the hand of another person’s.

Step 2) Shake.

Trust me, if you can manage that you’ll have had a “Good game”.  And if not, well, perhaps it’s simply time to grow up.

 Copyright Ros Hill 2015




2 thoughts on “Such Brave Indians

  1. Good Stuff!! Well written! That type of attitude should never be displayed after “the battle.” However, it’s my understanding that the Seminoles were not the only players in this particular game who fell into the stinking slime pit of unsportsmanlike conduct. Some of the Ducks reeked of it in the post-game festivities by taunting the Florida State quarterback with a chant which referred to sexual assault accusations over the last two years. That display is completely unsportsmanlike, unnecessary and unprofessional! One “wrong” may have led to the other “wrong.” But, as I like to say every now and then, “Two wrongs don’t make a right (but two Wrights make an airplane)!”


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