The Handshake

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 8:10 AM CT
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Razor With An Edge Blog

Let's remember one thing first, the handshake dates back to medieval times when it was introduced as a means of showing ones enemy that you approached 'unarmed'.

So how it became the poser, entourageed, paparazzi-encircled, 'event', between football coaches is baffling.

I was watching many a show debate the right and wrong of the Harbaugh-Schwartz dosi-doe handshake at the conclusion of the Niners-Lions game a week a go and got to thinking about the value - or purpose - of such a thing. (Same goes for anthem singing, but that'll have to wait for another blog)

In hockey we shake hands in two situations: Immediately following a ceremonial face-off prior to the game where the two team captains 'show they are unarmed', and at the conclusion of a playoff series when they tip helmets back, disarm, and the losing side congratulates the winners while wishing them well in the next round. Of course if you are Gerry Cheevers or Ed Belfour you don't...and if you're name is Dino Ciccerelli you wish you hadn't, as you rue the fact you shook Claude Lemieux's "frickin' hand".

In basketball the starters shake, bro-hug and fist-bump prior to the opening tip. Again, 'approach unarmed' prior to battle.

Baseball? They seem to shake each others hands more-so than the opposing team's. Maybe that's the 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' or perhaps they have more germaphobes, not sure.

But let's just isolate on coaches. Hockey coaches don't publicly shake unless it's after a playoff series. Some will shake their assistant coaches hands on the bench following a win (Which seems unnecessary to me) but not the other team's suits. Basketball coaches don't shake after a game, do they? Maybe before but not after, and not for TV. Baseball coaches, or managers, probably shake before games but they also wear full uniforms like there's a chance they might play, so...them dusty ole diamond bosses don't count.

Like Ditka 'The Dean of Testosterone' said, "The last thing I want to do after getting beat by 30 points is shake the other coaches hand and congratulate him!" That's not poor sportsmanship, that's the reality of being a man.

So here's Razor's Handshake Pamphlet: If you find yourself in the 1500s and you want to talk or hug it out with your enemy, then go ahead, shake hands prior to the violence. In all other circumstances shake prior to the event if you respect your adversary and feel so inclined, or shake after a hard fought series of battles - out of respect - if you're so inclined. All other handshakes - especially those with cameras present - are thus deemed 'phony as a football-bat'.


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