A Grin at the End: Congratulatory antics – A bit too much, a bit too often

December 2021 Posted in Uncategorized



Carl Sampson

As a red-blooded, all-American guy, I’ve been watching a lot of football these days. There’s nothing better than a Sunday afternoon of watching highly paid athletes knock heads with one another to lower the stress level.

But as I watched the games I noticed something – actually, it was pretty hard to miss. Often, when a player caught a pass or made a touchdown, he would spend the next few minutes celebrating. He would strut around flexing his muscles. Occasionally, his teammates would join in with some sort of jumping around.

If you’re the Green Bay Packers quarterback – I forget his name – he announces to the Chicago Bears’ fans that he “owns” them.

I spent some time in Chicago when I was in college. All I know is he better be careful or some Chicago fans are going to “own” his car.

Even when a defensive player makes what appears to be a routine tackle, he pops up and struts around like Mick Jagger in heat.

I’m not a legal expert, but I bet that in their contracts their duties are listed. Among them: scoring touchdowns and tackling and blocking the other teams.

In other words, those are the expectations. They are doing nothing more than what they are paid for. Good for you. You did your job.

This got me thinking. What would happen if we all celebrated the basics of our jobs?

Take, for example, the guys who pump gas. Why shouldn’t they celebrate their achievements just like football players?

Stick the credit card in the slot on the pump?


And when he puts the nozzle in the gas receptacle?

“Damn I’m good! How about a high five?”

Add a victory dance when he hands you the receipt.

“I own you!”

Or when a teacher coaches a student though an algebra problem, he, or she, could holler, “That’s what I’m talking about!” Or, “You got this!”

I can play that game, too.

When I straighten out the syntax of a sentence, I could jump out of my chair and do a war whoop.

Or when I send a story back to a writer for more information, I could flex my muscles and do a few fist pumps.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for enthusiasm. When someone does something above and beyond  the normal I will go out of my way to let them know about. That’s just good management.

It’s self-congratulations that are a bit annoying. Even teams that, to use the parlance, “are a dog’s breakfast,” seem to spend half their time celebrating the most basic tackle.

I am reminded of how different Americans are from the Japanese.

I occasionally work with a freelance writer in Tokyo. One time he made a mistake in one of his stories. His apology went something like this: “I lie prostrate on the ground, seeking your forgiveness.”

I’m not saying that everyone who makes mistakes should lie face down on the floor and beg for mercy. All I’m saying is to save the celebrations for the truly special accomplishments.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to jump up and down and strut around about having this column finished.

“Nailed it!”

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor.

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