Monday, September 19, 2011


It always amazes me when opponents don't shake hands at the end of a match.  Most of the time, no matter what happens during the course of a match, the opponents will shake hands.  Whether one is unbearably embarrassed by their play, or pissed off at themselves for playing so badly, that person will still do the proper, polite thing and still shake hands. 

However, it's the Poor Sport who doesn't always shake hands.  The Poor Sport played bad and is now pissed at themselves and they are so upset, they don't want to shake hands with you.  Probably because even though it was through their own bad play they lost, they incorrectly think their opponent got rolls or didn't deserve the win. 

In reality, they are mad at themselves and yet they punish their opponents, the fans, the audience, and ultimately themselves by not acting professional.

Even Wikipedia says:
"Generally, it is considered inappropriate, if not outright insulting to reject a handshake without good reason."

What I don't get is, if the Poor Sport wins a match they shouldn't have, they will laugh and smile and shake your hand with no problem.  If you beat the PS, God Forbid, then you are no longer treated with respect.

Good word:  Respect.

It's disrespectful.

I honestly feel when people do this, it hurts our sport.

It's like a golf pro not shaking hands with who he's been paired up with the last 18 holes; or the losing team of a football game heading to the locker room instead of walking cross the field of shame to shake hands; or a tennis player not shaking hands at the end of a match; you get the idea.

It's disrespectful. 

When the PS's do this, do they even realize what it does to their opponent?  You are belittling your opponent.  You are not giving them the respect they deserve for being your opponent. 

And of course everyone talks about the PS when they do this.  We sit on the sidelines and whisper, "Can you beleive they did that?  How rude."  Or, "There he goes again..."

This not only happens at weekly tournaments, it happens at big events, too.  Just at the Texas Open one of the pros did this to her opponent.  Many fans saw it, too.  The PS walked away from the table without any acknowledgement.

The PS would have treated any opponent that way because she was upset she was outplayed (I'm guessing), but her opponent took it personal.  It was uncalled for and disrespectful.  And what kind of representation of the sport is a pro who walks off without shaking hands?  In front of a large crowd no less?

Granted, we don't know what inner demons she was facing.  Maybe she had an issue with the crowd, or something weird happened in her match. Who knows.  However, even PS's need to act human to their fellow human beings and treat them with respect and offer a simple handshake!

I know we get angry at ourselves sometimes, or our opponents for whatever reason, but we (the non Poor Sport) would still shake hands with the Poor Sport EVERY TIME, even though if the reverse happened, they would just turn and walk away from the table briskly, rudely, and selfishly.

6 comments: said...

Spot on! Sometimes I stand there with my hand extended for a handshake for half a minute calling attention to the poor sport and shaming him into finishing the match like a gentleman.

AMP Leagues Blog said...

Great write-up! It is unfortunate this type of behavior exists in any sport. Maybe Tournament Directors (pro, local, state, etc.) should team up and make it mandatory to handshake after each match. If violated then the player would be penalized. Why not? Football players do for "unsportsmanlike conduct" all the time; even for "excessive celebration" which is just a different form.
How to penalize? Try this...
* IF the match just lost puts the player out of the tournament then: Player is Suspended from participating in all tournaments for 30 days or 3 months (a committee should decide this since it should be enforced by all Tournament Directors for consistency)
* IF still in the tournament then 1) Player forfeits next match AND suspended for time period decided upon by TD Committee.

Just a thought....


Milica said...

Sometimes I'll smile and wave, but it really is just me being a PS. Thanks for pointing it out - I'm already a changed woman.

Jeff said...

You hit upon the key, though, when you said it all boils down to respect. This is something I harp on all the time, especially with my 12-year-old son. The downward spiral that our society, our world as a whole, is facing right now can all be attributed to a unilateral lack of respect for our fellow human being! (IMHO) From something as simple as refusing a handshake at the end of a match, to religious intolerance, bigotry, hate-crimes, you name it! We have all been put on this rock for a reason, and if we can't figure out how to live together, we will all die alone! (Sorry for the rant. Feel free to delete, but your post just stirred up something in me. Thanks for telling it like it is!)

poolminnow said...

I have a slightly different point of view. If my opponent, in the moment of losing doesn't feel like shaking hands that's fine by me. As the person who came out the winner I try to have compassion for the other person who may have given it their all, may be very tired, hungry, etc. I won, and if they played in a gracious, fair manner during the match, that's how i judge their sportsmanship.

I think its almost more important to be a "good winner" and for me that means giving space to the loser, because its a much harder position to be in.

I've heard plenty of people go off complaining that their opponent didn't shake hands afterwards, or that they shook hands, but didn't look them in the eye, or their handshake was flabby. (Where do you draw the line). I just cringe, because that kind of complaining, to me, is poor sportsmanship at its worst.

If shaking hands when you lose is important to you, its a nice gesture. And I think, as the loser, it does something for YOU, more than the opponent. Some people are excellent and gracious losers and they should be commended. But, to me, its a slippery slope, as the winner to judge someone who doesn't.

Melinda said...

Thank you for all the comments! Seems most of us have felt the impersonal blow of a no hand shake.

PoolMinnow - your comments were very important, and I wrote a follow up post about it!

Thank you for your thoughts - great points I failed to mention.