In case you missed it, the CFL was back at its middle-of-the-season rule-change thing last week.
This one wasn’t as big as, say, changing video challenge rules or what have you while the season was going on, which is good, and I wonder whether anyone but the participants will particularly care.
But bless its fun-loving heart, the league has told players to go ahead, celebrate your brains out after scoring touchdowns, use props if you like; dance, sing, mimic. Go nuts in some kind of odd anti-NFL move towards, you know, entertainment.
Here are the details and suffice it to say all the usual codicils are in place. No feigning violence towards anyone, no attaching things to the goal posts, nothing too stupid or anything disrespectful or what have you.
Makes entire sense, right?
But this whole “celebrating” what an athlete is actually supposed to do is an interesting fact of pro sports life these days.
You’ve got baseball players being chastised for bat flips after home runs, you’ve got basketball players looked at oddly for posing or taunting after big plays; I don’t know what the similar thing would be in hockey but I’m sure it’s there and heaven knows soccer players can go waaaaaaaaaay over the top after they score.
All of it good or bad?
Now, I’m not against fun and individualism and I know in the emotion of any big sporting moment, when something significant is accomplished, letting loose is the most normal of reactions.
And I have no issue whatsoever with a player being demonstrative after, say, a game-winning play or some kind of jaw-slackening move that causes fans and opponents and teammates to gasp.
Go ahead, pump fists and bellow and jump around, it can be entertaining and it can be warranted and it’s what the fans want.
But, and this is where I get a tad cranky, which you knew was coming…
It’s the over-the-top celebration of the run of the mill accomplishment that bugs me; the use of “props” seems a tad ridiculous because I don’t think there needs to be forethought put into it.
A dunk, say, in a 10-point game should be met with “Hey, that’s what you get paid to do; now get back and defend.” A touchdown in the first quarter of some routine regular season game should involve either putting the ball on the turf or handing it back to an official before a player makes his way to the bench.
Celebrations — and, again, I am not against the wild ones for truly major accomplishments — should be spontaneous, not scripted; they should accompany achievements of major proportions rather than basic accomplishments.
It’s got a little bit to do with respecting the game and respecting your opponent but it’s also got to do with perspective and the moment.
A walk-off homer, a last-minute touchdown; go for it. Do what you do and have fun with it. Other than that, get on with the game. Regardless of what the rules say you can do.