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November 4, 2013
I'm all for a player celebrating a touchdown or goal while playing football, soccer or any other sport for that matter that doesn't detract from the game. But the self-aggrandizement that is a part of the game today is more than I can handle.
The constant chest thumping, posing and taunting has just about turned me off to professional sports.
Thankfully colleges have taken steps to penalize those who celebrate too vociferously in inter-collegiate contests.
The recent practice of two, three and sometimes four players jumping together and bumping chests or butts is one of the most foolish celebrations that I can remember. What happened to high-fives and knuckle bumps? Not only does it look silly but it is dangerous. Just ask Kentucky receiver Alex Montgomery who will spend the rest of the season rehabbing his torn ACL. That's right; he tore his ACL jumping to celebrate his touchdown against Alabama State last weekend.
But he's not the only one. Georgia's leading receiver, Malcolm Mitchell injured his ACL while celebrating a teammate's touchdown in the Bulldog's first game of the season. Arizona Cardinal Kicker Bill Gramatica suffered the same injury during a celebration in 2001 after a field goal.
Not to be outdone, at least 15 college and professional soccer players have had season-ending injuries while celebrating. The most recent is Brazilian soccer star Maurides Rogue Junior who was taken off the field on a stretcher after over-celebrating his first professional goal.
But soccer and football players are not the only athletes that put their bodies at risk with foolish celebrating. Baseball players have a mindless festivity of jumping on top of each other after a significant win. Why they think that jumping high in the air on top of a teammate is a smart ploy I'll never understand. Our Cardinal baseball team does it often especially at tournament time and each year I expect a serious injury but so far, so good. No one has missed a game due to over-exuberant celebrating. I am a bit curious what it feels like to be at the bottom of a pile of 30 young men. It has to be kind of suffocating.
Another practice that I feel has out-lived its usefulness is dumping Gatorade on top of the coach's head. I recently saw a video of two girls trying to dump Gatorade on their basketball coach but they missed and the coach slipped on the wet floor and cut his chin. People coming to help also slipped and it was turmoil.
If I was a coach there would be no more jumping chest bumps or butt bumps. I would also threaten my players with 50 laps up and down the stadium steps if they poured anything on my head but praise. As to the piles that occur at baseball games - no more. It's just a matter of time until the baseball players join their football and soccer counterparts in the training room for the remainder of the season.