Tag Archives: hugs

Whatever happened to the handshake?

2 Oct


From Handshake to Pile-On – The Evolution of the Goal Celebration

Has anyone noticed the increasing use of lying down on the grass to have teammates jump on top of you as the chosen mode of goal celebration?  In a recent game, scorer Wayne Rooney flopped to the ground, and waited for the pile-on. The camera caught team mate Darren Fletcher with his legs apart, standing over Rooney. Wayne raised his head, his face disappearing in front of Fletcher’s shorts. Not that there is anything wrong with men on men rolling around on the grass.

In the really old days, before the hug culture helped spread coughs, a scorer would have his back slapped and his hand shook. Then came the invention of the individual. Blame the sixties and George Best. Soccer players became superhuman; they were photographed in magazines with their tops off, sexy ladies in fur dripping from their manly chests. The average bloke was confused. He had never looked at his own body, now he was looking at George Best’s hairy ribs. Touching and intimacy was not a trait held in high regard in working class England. Foreplay in sexual intercourse was best described as – Brace Your Self.  But the fancy touch on the field had moved off it.

The feel of the swinging sixties spread fast to other players, and to the stands. By the seventies, back slaps and handshakes were replaced with scorers running around the field, arm in air, like a victorious conqueror. Teammates followed; arms around the triumphant shoulder. Fans began to grab each other intimately, and strangers kissed in crowds numbering in the tens of thousands. The eighties came, and the wearing of tight shorts sewed the seeds of the modern hug. Mounting for a piggyback ride was most popular. But it took the arrival of the ecstatic nineties for the hug to be embraced by raving soccer players. Kisses, whispers, head-grabs, and bum slaps cascaded through the euphoria of scoring. Who needed drugs? Today’s grass orgy will likely fade but what will be next?