(Image: Aidan Jones/Flickr)
High school athletes in Kentucky might be finishing their games a little earlier this season, after state athletics officials recommended that schools ditch the customary post-game handshake. Although it's normally used as a gesture of sportsmanship, it turns out that some students saw the handshake as an opportunity for attack — there were more than two dozen physical confrontations over the past three years.
Not everyone was happy with the move, including Kentucky House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, who took to Twitter to vent:
The policy directive issued this afternoon by KHSAA to ban postgame handshakes is joke embarrassment and should result in immediate firings!— Jeff Hoover (@KYHoover) October 8, 2013
In an interview with Kentucky.com, he elaborated: "I think the most important thing we can do as adults is teach kids responsibility and basic civility. The most important thing about sports is sportsmanship. We've had two dozen incidents in three years, so we're saying we can't do it anymore? That's a real problem for me."
After these and several other negative responses to what was viewed as a "ban" on the post-game ceremony, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association clarified that it was only a "recommendation" — but reminded schools that they will still face penalties for any misconduct after the final whistle.
Of course, it's still possible for Kentucky schools to maintain both sportsmanship and safety. Here's a proposal: after the game, teams could wave at each other from opposing sidelines... while taking great care not to make too much eye contact.