Back in the days of Little League, no matter how bad-blooded the games were (usually not very), at the end of the game, we always shook hands with the opposing team. And without fail, there was always one jackass who would spit on his hand before hitting the line. That usually engendered more hostility than anything that happened in the game itself. Or, more succinctly: handshake lines are not necessarily promises of civility.
We bring this topic up not because we like talking about random things we did in fourth grade*, but because coaches in the NCAA are discussing - among myriad other topics - instituting the handshake line before games in college football. This can’t end well, right?
In case we’d forgotten already, opposing college football teams are like antennae on walkie-talkies. The closer you get them to each other, the more static comes up out of nowhere. Yes, it’s nice to do this before the game and not afterwards, when all those cheap shots and fingers in the face mask can be revisited, but let’s just remember what happens when two teams get in close proximity to one another.
Yeah, let’s make them all shake hands and see what happens. Outstanding idea, guys. Say, let’s also give them firearms and methamphetamines.
Per USA TODAY:
The onetime, opening-day gesture expands on a clause in the AFCA’s ethics code that calls for coaches to exchange a handshake before games. Teams will spread across the middle of the field, shake or fist-bump or whatever, and be back off in an estimated four minutes.
[Baylor head coach Grant] Teaff laid out the plan Friday. The ceremony won’t be mandatory, but he says, “I’d be surprised if the high, high majority of our teams do not participate in this.
“We don’t think that this is something we could do, or even should do, prior to games (throughout the season),” he says. “I know basketball shakes hands after games, but football has a lot larger numbers and it’s kind of burdensome and cumbersome. .. to do that.”
No kidding. Maybe it works and there’s an added sense of sportsmanship at all the games. Maybe. But considering we’re looking at a few minutes of forced civility in a sport where the players are amped out of their mind and looking for whatever mental edge they can get over an opponent, this is little more than an open invitation for disaster, right?
*Though if you want, we can spend about 15 paragraphs on Legos. Whaddya say?