Things That Tick Me Off: Excessive Celebration

It is time again for me to vent and add another item to my “Things That Tick Me Off” list. Today’s gripe is excessive celebration. I started thinking about this recently as the father to two fencers. In attending fencing competitions, I have been shocked by the practice of some to scream after scoring a point. I will return to that practice is a second. Then I saw this click of Pete Weber winning his fifth PBA U.S. open title — screaming at the crowd. I realize that this is (hopefully) an unguarded moment of someone caught in the euphoria of his win. However, it raised again for me the concept of excessive celebration in football (my favorite sport) and the need for such a rule in fencing (below). I believe all sports should have rules like the NFL’s, but fencing (with so many young players) should make it a priority to establish a rule against screaming celebrations as shown below.

While often criticized, I have long supported the rule against excessive celebration (though I think it is enforced at times in a capricious fashion). The NFL rules states:

(c) The use of baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.
(d) Individual players involved in prolonged or excessive celebrations. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.
(e) Two-or-more players engage in prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations.
(f) Possession or use of foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop.

This is a rule that distinguishes football from some other sports and teaches an important lesson to young people about good sportsmanship, in my view.

I have been thinking about this rule because of witnessing screaming among young and old fencers alike. The screaming below remains thankfully a minority, but not a small minority. I realize how intensive fencing is as a sport with rapid burst of energy. However, I find it incredibly rude and inconsiderate to the other player. This is not the only intense sport, but I have never seen this as a common practice. The national and international fencing associations should address the practice, as did the NFL, and make it clear that fencers are expected to show good sportsmanlike and refrain from screaming celebrations. Saying that “it has always been this way” is hardly an excuse. In my view, allowing these displays reinforces an arrogant and egotistic element to the sport as well as a disregard for the feelings of an opposing fencer.

26 thoughts on “Things That Tick Me Off: Excessive Celebration

  1. The screaming does seem egotistic. Looking at some of the clips, the audience for the bouts seems to be of a “fingers of one hand” scale at most.
    Perhaps the winner is attempting to compensate for the indifference of others. The organisers should provide canned applause machines.

    Anyone for tennis?

  2. Sadly, Mr. Weber is a bit of an ass. Having seen his performances in the past as well as the one you mentioned that was not a moment of excessive exuberance – it was the mark of an ass. He is encouraged in this by the new owners of the PBA who think if it worked for the WWE it should work for them.

    The taunting and excessive celebrations that take place in sports diminish the sport and the participants.

  3. I don’t know if you would call this a sport ,but the Victor did not let out a scream although it would have been appropriate:

  4. Always irritates me with parents constant feedback during games. Example: youth baseball. After every pitch someone or several parents may utter “Good eye, nice swing, don’t swing at that one, ” and so one including the highly irritating “swing batter!”. Instead of just proceeding with the game every action is a judgement. Kids feel like every action has a judgement attached to this marvelous game. Parents: once the game is on please just shut the heck up when a kid’s at the plate! They feel all alone out there as it is. Don’t put them under a microscope. Let them play. Almost none of them will ever play pro ball so ease up.

  5. Not having any contact with fencing I was very surprised by this. I had the impression that it was a classy sport with a long history steeped in tradition. But alas it appears that this crap is seeping into every part of our society after all.

    Similarly, bowling I hadn’t seen any of for a long time. I do know that Weber is a long time veteran and this ridiculous behavior is relatively recent. I do wonder if it has indeed been encouraged by the powers that be in the sport, as stated by Frankly. What a joke.

    This society has apparently lost all remnants of any class.

  6. Those fencing screams are disgusting.
    Consider for a moment soccer which is a very low scoring game. The players are always very very happy when they make a goal and there is always celebration on the field. However, now if the player takes his shirt off in celebration, the disrobing player almost always gets a yellow card.
    Perhaps this is similar to the NFL taunting rule…not really sure.

  7. Geeba Geeba—-great.

    As for fairness, in a sport like tennis and fencing, noise during play or celebrations after points negatively effect the opponent—-and should be punishable, by loss of point. That’ll fix it quickly.

    It may be that folks are just corrupted by the media and the commercial hype. It also, if we consider parents at child sports, the parents venting their frustrations accumulated from many sources..

    My own experience as a little leaguer we’ll forget about. NO parent’s were screaming, etc in 1949.

    Wish we could skip the BB grus collapse so often used in tennis today.
    And grunts should be rewarded by point loss.

  8. Prep school fencers are getting rowdy; the Republic is doomed. That bowler’s out burst ( with his stupid bad-ass shades ) was hilarious. I think these types of of out burst should only be allowed in sports where they’ll inherently funny (syncronized swimming, chess, Dugeons and Dragons, curling, competitive ball room dancing, or any other “sport” were one can be drunk or out of shape and still effectively compete)

  9. idealist707 1, March 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Fencing, is that the poor man’s yachting?
    No, it is where you sit when you are not sure of the next play.😉

  10. I agree with Prof. Turley that these fencers outbursts are beyond reasonableness, but the bowler is just stupid. It is bowling. He did not just climb Mt. Everest. He did not just do a 360 degree dunk. What an idiot.
    speaking of idiots, the young man in eniobob’s video is luck to be alive.

  11. “It is bowling. He did not just climb Mt. Everest. He did not just do a 360 degree dunk. What an idiot.” -rafflaw

    lol. Thanks for that, rafflaw.

  12. As someone at least partially responsible for the Turley fencing phenom, I must say that coaches do actually encourage or at least explain the screams as a part of releasing the tension that comes with the fencing action. While bystanders may not approve, talk to the fencers — they just don’t care, and it sometimes actually does help to let out some emotion verbally. It can happen with both a score and a miss.

    It’s common throughout the sport. There is a certain Olympic champion who is very well known for her iconic yow!!! and yet it is actually pretty endearing. Now, to be sure, some of the very high pitched screams do tend to be a might grating when heard from the sidelines

  13. But doesn’t it disturb the opponents concentration That seems to be one of the reasons for tennis grunts. As well as masking the sound of the balls impact with the racket strings, thus concealing the type of stroke.. Ít’s still asinine IMO in fencing.
    Stiff upper lips are not required by some consideration should be.

  14. That fencer is truly disgusting. Love fight sports, but also hate the MMA spectacles with winners somersaulting and jumping onto the rings to bray and beat their chests.

    That’s one thing to recommend sumo, even if gigantically fat men wrestling mostly naked isn’t your thing–they’re stoic winning or losing.

  15. As a former fencer, and one who yelled on more than one occasion, I agree with brtech’s comments. I will say that the clips provide evidence of the more offensive screamers in fencing and the young man should be penalized for taking off his mask more than the yell. I will also state that a scream or yell in the action is fine but these two seem to be rubbing it in to a certain extent. Fencing is an intense sport and vocalizing during a bout is expected by the participants and a release of emotions and energy. Fencing for me was like playing chess in the middle of a boxing match. It required thinking, planning and strategy to set up the move you were trying to execute while also having the skill and physical abilities to pull it off and not get hit in the process. It is intense and sometimes yelling when you have finally done it is warranted. I have had opponents that were screamers somewhat similar to these two, they certainly did not intimidate or mess up my game, they just made want to execute the perfect touch and shut them the hell up. If you pay attention to the clips they are yelling after the touch, not during the action, which should not do anything to their opponent’s game. They are rude and over the top but if you don’t want to hear it, don’t get hit and they remain blissfully quiet. When you feel the touch it is hard not to yell during an important bout.

    Everyone approaches their sport with their own way of doing things. They are influenced by their coaches and themselves and express themselves in a wide variety of ways. Until you have put in the hours in the gym and come home with you body black and blue from getting your butt whipped by a better opponent, do not judge someone that is relishing the joy of scoring that perfect touch or the touch that puts you in the next round or finals. Again, I agree that these two are a bit over the top but in an effort to curb their rude behavior you would strip some of what is great about fencing and scoring that perfect touch that you have set up in a long hard fought bout.

  16. Yeah I am a fencer too and although i appreciate the care you take for your children there are just moments where you have to scream. Often times for me it is just a explosion of emotion. I do not scream because I feel i am better. I scream because I am excited that i got the point and crawled closer to victory. If only by one step.

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