NO MORE HANDSHAKES DOESN’T MEAN NO MORE GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP
The “new normal” is one of the many terms we hear repeatedly as the country begins its return to normal activities from the COVID‑19 pandemic. Keeping six feet apart from other people, wearing a mask and frequent washing of hands are three of those important warnings.
And then there is the new “no‑no” that cuts at the heart of high school sports — the handshake. Shaking hands has been a part of our culture for centuries and a mainstream of high school sports forever. It is hard to imagine high school sports without handshakes. In addition to emotional displays among team members involving handshakes, high fives and hugs, the handshake has been a way of demonstrating good sportsmanship toward the opponent.
In wrestling, for instance, shaking hands before a match is actually a part of the rules, which, of course, will have to be relaxed for the coming season. There are handshakes at the coin toss in football and before the opening jump ball in basketball.
After a hard‑fought, back‑and‑forth tennis match, players meet at the net to shake hands — congratulating each other for their efforts. The actions are the same after golfers battle each other for 18 holes — removing the cap and shaking hands.
These age‑old practices demonstrate respect for the opponent, and in the case of postgame handshakes, graciousness in victory or defeat.