There are lots of great things about attending a University of Dayton (my alma mater) basketball game, the arena atmosphere being tops among them. When a dunk was thrown down or a big three was made, that place was rocking.
But for my friends and I, some of the most fun happened before the game even got started, during pregame introductions. Dayton’s starters were announced and they went through a series of complex and ridiculous handshakes with their teammates.
For guards London Warren and Rob Lowery, it was a fake high five with the right hand, then a series of high fives back and forth between the two, then sort of sideways chest bump — something that is probably difficult to visualize. But it was hilarious, because while it was the same handshake progression every time, it felt new every time, and was accompanied by different emotion each time.
Some games they were pumped up, some games they were serious and some games it was just silly. It was always entertaining, though. You felt like those guys really liked playing together and this was one way of showing that.
I realize this is nothing unique in the sports world. But I bring it up because it’s been one of my favorite parts, once again, of the fall sports season in Craig.
Members of the Moffat County High School varsity volleyball go through a series of handshake/chest bump combos before and during each set of their games, and it cracks me up every time.
I first noticed when seniors Allie Ehlers and Brittany Walker were high fiving with the fronts and backs of their hands, their legs seemed to be moving with purpose at the same time, and their elbows were being held in mostly the same place while they did all of this. I believe a spin may be involved at some point.
I noticed this at my second home game and have paid much closer attention since. The handshake is still difficult to describe, but it is executed to perfection every time, and makes me want to applaud.
Ehlers and Jazmine Swindler have a much more simple one. They crouch down, high five each other about a dozen times in rapid succession, then leap up for one of those sideways hip bumps in the air.
Then when Swindler, the libero on the team, subs out, sometimes senior Ashley Whiffen comes in for her. They look like they’re about to break their hands off on an aggressive high five, but they don’t. They stop short and then let out a roar or a loud bark of sorts, then move on.
There are a few other examples on the team — handshakes that go beyond the basics of a simple high five or two. I don’t know how the girls keep track of it all, because some of them have two or three pretty complication progressions to remember.
But before every game, and then between sets in each game, whether they won or lost the previous set, there go those handshakes again. A completely ridiculous and awesome display of what it’s like to enjoy your teammates, and that there can be more to sports than just the points played.
Nate Waggenspack will do a right-handed high five three times, lean back Fresh Prince style and salute handshake with anybody who notices this. He can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.