Way back in September — man, that was three months ago — I wrote about some standard procedures within the world of sports that irked me and a couple others that I thought were genius. Tossing back home-run balls — fantastic. Treating golf courses like the Vatican? Not so much.
Now, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to these types of “unofficial rules” as I watch sports.
Just Tuesday, Wake Forest fired its radio announcer after discovering he was a mole. The guy — Tommy Elrod, a former player and coach for the Demon Deacons — was secretly sharing game plans with opposing teams….for two years!
Now, Elrod’s clearly a scumbag with the most minimal of morals, but is it wrong for me to kind of respect his hustle? If they caught him after a game or two of doing this, yeah, the guy’s a loser. But two years?! Get this guy a job in the CIA.
So, what else do I love and loathe?
HATE: Pre-game handshakes.
I’m about to whoop your butt, rain jumpers in your face and maybe hit you with a forearm or two as you gingerly gallop across the lane; I’m not wishing you “good luck” before the opening tipoff. “Good luck” is what you tell your buddy before he goes into a job interview.
I understand the idea of friendly competition, and I won’t be unfriendly during said competition. But not slapping hands with some bum I’m trying to dunk on doesn’t make me unfriendly. It just makes me a competitor. I’ll dish out unlimited secret handshakes and atta-boys to my teammates all day. But the opponent? Never.
This goes for helping them up, too. Usain-Bolt sprint to help up your teammate after he dives on the floor for a loose ball. Stick out your hand, pull it back and comb your hair with it after an opponent takes a lazy charge.
Finger guns for bonus points.
LOVE: Throwing caps on the ice.
Hat tricks are hard to get. There’s a reason they gave a nickname to the act of scoring three goals in a single game. It’s something worth celebrating.
Throwing your hat on the ice is so simple. “Hey, this guy did something we call a ‘hat trick.’ I’m wearing a hat. Here, take it.” Bada bing, bada boom. A picture is worth 1,000 words, and a hat on a sheet of ice paints a pretty definitive picture. Plan this in advance and wear a crummy hat to the game. Or one of those oversized foam cowboy hats.
HATE: Taking strikes.
As you may know, I’m not a baseball guru. But I don’t get the concept of taking strikes. I mean, I think I get why other people get it, but it still seems obnoxious. “Waiting for the right pitch” seems oxymoronous when you’re passing up a strike for, I guess, a better strike?
Now, I’ve never had to hit a waning-crescent curveball that starts in row 13 and ends up belt high. So you see it once and prepare for the next one. But aren’t these guys pros? Don’t they see 500 of those curveballs a year? Don’t stand and watch a pitch hit the strike zone and then chase one with a sand wedge four pitches later.
LOVE: The court storm.
I’ve written about the importance of the court storm before. I watched a high-school game that featured three buzzer beaters in a row (two didn’t count) the other day. Storm the court after each one. You just knocked off the top team in the country? Rush that baby.
“Court” is a loose term, too. Your chum just bowled a perfect game to win the co-ed leisure league? Storm the alley. Slide down the lanes on your chest. Juggle bowling pins. Pure anarchy.
Also, always tear down the goal posts. Carry them through the streets like you’re a medieval gladiator and the post is the head of the beast you’ve just slayed.
Are you not entertained?!