by Tony Fiorino
After watching Schwartz and Harbaugh make asses of themselves this past Sunday and the potential debacle at the Georgia-Vanderbilt game on Saturday, I’m forced to ask myself this question. I’ve yet to formulate a concrete opinion on it and so I wanna hear from folks about the merits as well as the pitfalls of this seemingly empty post-game gesture.
Would love to hear some strong opinions from callers on the show and MyYouthBaseball.com has always been a great forum for strong opinions.
Hey Coach Tony on ESPN Radio
THE COACH’S ANSWER
Thanks for the great question Tony!
As a long-time youth coach, I think the post-game handshake is a good thing at the youth level. The gesture helps develop good sportsmanship which is an important trait for all of youth to acquire.
On the flip-side, I think some sports and communities are taking this type of sportsmanship to a ridiculous level. Girls volleyball is a sport that pops into my head when I think of pointless handshakes. At volleyball games, the girls on the teams are required to shake hands prior to the game AND after the game. I don’t think that is necessary. I also don’t like the idea of, during high school basketball warmups, the players having to go and shake the opposing coaches hand. Team handshakes at the end of games should be enough. Too much of this sportsmanship gesturing is nauseating!
With collegiate and professional level teams, I really don’t think society cares or needs to see the players shake hands or the coaches meet at midfield to shake hands after the game. At those levels, there are too many hot heads and bad things can happen. It is their careers and, if they had a bad game that could cost them money (job, increase in pay, etc), tempers may not be controlled.
At the youth level, most of the kids are not playing for compensation or their careers. Sportsmanship is important and should be taught that the game is just that… A game!
When I played high school sports, I acquired some friends because of the post-game handshake because it gave you a chance to look someone in the eye and say “nice game” and most people appreciate that. I am serious when I say that… I have a few friends that I talked to for the first time during the handshake after we played against each other.
So, I guess I think it is important at the youth levels to continue the post-game handshakes, but I really DON’T care about seeing it at the professional or top-tier collegiate levels!
Thanks for the question Tony! Hopefully, this will stir some good discussion on your show!
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