If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands

Spoiler Alert!!!! I’m about to go all old man rant on you. Continue reading if you have ever sat on a porch just waiting for a chance to yell at the neighborhood kids to keep their voices down while you finish your Sudoku.

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You know what really is starting to grind my gears about these NBA playoffs? The incessant hand slapping after free throws. Not only is it a time consuming proposition but it also seems to occur irregardless of whether or not the shot goes in. Last night after Joakim Noah shot a free throw he immediately received a cavalcade of congratulatory handshakes from teammates like Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. I’m pretty sure one of the referees got in there for a butt slap as well. The way people were celebrating it was as if Joakim was running for public office.

And here’s the kicker, Noah missed that free throw by a good 10 inches. Sooooo, what are you celebrating exactly? I don’t mean to make this just about the Chicago Bulls because free throw hand slapping is everywhere in these playoffs and pretty soon it’s going to force me to watch something else like – gulp – the NHL Playoffs. (If only I could find Versus….)

E.K.G.A.T. Every Kid Gets A Trophy. E.K.G.A.T. It’s 50% of what’s wrong with organized sports and athletes in America today. (The other 50% are the parents who live vicariously through their kids. To steal a phrase from Charles Barkley, those folks are “turrible”.) The idea that young athletes are told how great they are, regardless of performance, rewards mediocrity and builds a damaging false sense of entitlement. Consequently we are developing a nation of young people who are unable to cope with stress or manage failure and who also grow up expecting instant gratification for simply doing their job. I see it every day in the workplace where more and more recent college graduates simply cannot function unless their performance is constantly being validated.

We must get back to learning to live with failure. Learning from mistakes, both physical and mental, is a crucial step in the development of personal and professional resiliency. If you’re looking to blame someone for the fragile mental state of our young athletes, blame Joakim Noah, he of the 10 second post free throw handshake routine.

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Enough old man ranting for today. Tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about cell phones and those darn pop musicians who wear their pants too low.

view from the Staples Center courtesy of @RJWilliams