Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New youth sports mantra, beware the handshake

Times are tough for a venerable youth sports institution: the post-game handshake.

Two examples:

In Greenville County, S.C., handshakes are being cited as the cause of a nasty brawl. It happened last week after a basketball game in which Southside High upset previously unbeaten Abbeville High. Multiple players from both teams began clubbing each others. Fans rushed the court.

From the Greenville News:

"The fight broke out after the game as players lined up and walked by each other to shake hands,(a spokesman from the Sheriff's office)said.

"(Southside's coach) said when the players approached each other, he could “sense it right then and there that it wasn't gonna go right.”

“It started primarily because when the players got together, the emotions ran high,” (he said) said. “When they got into an altercation, it led to others who shouldn't have even been there getting into altercations as well.”

A followup story in the News reports that high school coaches may address the problem by banning handshakes.

This comes a few months after USA Hockey issued an urgent bulletin to youth programs around the country, discouraging handshakes that resulted in skin-to-skin contact. As an alternative, the organization suggested handshakes with hockey gloves on. There was an entirely reasonable explanation for this policy, though. It came at the height of the H1N1 scare.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Players should exhibit good sportsmanship by shaking hands, win or loose. Punish those who fight. You shouldn't ban good behavior because of bad behavior.