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« 7:14 sighting, Soldier Field | Main | Who needs consultants now? »

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

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Daniel

Except... that intimidation and gamesmanship are part of competitive sports, and the most intimidating opponents I ever faced didn't celebrate. They stared, glared, talked hostile trash that only I could hear and treated every success like they expected to do it all day long.

Those guys might celebrate after a win, but they kept their in-game celebration to a minimum. Maybe a spontaneous fist-pump during transition to the next play after a score.

I spent a lot of teenage energy trying to develop a particular facial expression and body language after making a particularly good play, when I knew everybody would be looking at me. It wasn't just wanting to appear cool -- I wanted to get into the head of my opponents.

And if you're flapping around after a first-down or a 17-foot jumpshot like you've just won a national title, all you've done is to piss me off, summon MY emotions, raise the stakes for my performance. In essence, that kind of action HELPS me compete against you.

I think that's where the workmanlike idea comes from. It has zero to do with the entertainment factor of sports, and for the record, I love it when Chad Johnson thinks up creative celebrations. Does it make it harder on Chad and the Bengals? Sure. But the great players like a challenge. It's only the marginal players like me who need every edge they can get.

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