Did you hear? To help rein in the excess, the NFL announced that it is putting out a training video to instruct its players on the correct way to celebrate on-field. And if you’re a member of the Boston Red Sox outfield it is an unwritten requirement to learn a celebration dance called “Win, Dance, Repeat.” Win, Dance, Repeat is a choreographed number where the Red Sox outfielders come together after a win, bow to each other, flex their muscles, do a little gig and then two of the three outfielders pretend to take photos of the outfielder who did the most to contribute to the victory.
Is the above great showmanship part of the entertainment value of watching sports, or is it narcissistic, illustrative of cultural decline and reflective of a society gone awry?
Today, whether on the ballfield or the world at large, it is getting harder to make the case for modesty. To be modest in the 21st century is to be a schnook. Take the women from the Kardashian-Jenner clan. They have built an impressive, well-run financial empire based on the celebration of vanity and self, with seemingly few ramifications. Sure, they have to deal with snarky comments from the peanut gallery, but the downside has been well worth the reward. They are the envy of millions, no, scratch that, hundreds of millions of people. To get ahead in today’s world it is no longer enough to blow your own horn, but to do so while on a unicycle, and then post it on every social media outlet possible with hints that a sex tape might be in the offing.
But if you look closely, the evidence is everywhere that narcissism and showboating have negative consequences. Raise your hand, sports fan, if you observed the following more often than you can count? Instead of going for the safe layup, a hoop star tries an exotic dunk blowing the basket. How many doubles have become singles, as the batter, assuming he has hit a home run, poses at the plate instead of running, only to realize too late that the ball is going to stay in the park. My personal favorite that seemed to happen every week in college football last season is where the ball carrier is so excited about executing his touchdown dance, he starts celebrating before crossing the goal line and discards the ball prematurely. Instead of it being a touchdown it turns into a fumble recovery for the other team or a touchback.
Off the athletic fields, in both minor and major ways we also see the negative effects brought on by the modern look at me mindset. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems your typical Jihadist, who just about weekly blows up, runs over, or randomly shoots innocent people in Western cities, is nothing more than a narcissist with a bad beard. He and his ilk claim to be acting in the name of Allah, but they are as much motivated by grabbing the limelight and getting their name and cause out there. Think of a terrorist act as the ultimate James Cagney, “Made it Ma! Top of the World!” moment.
I’m not drawing a parallel between touchdown dances and terrorist acts, only suggesting a world with a little more modesty and humility would be a different place than it is now, and most of the differences would be for the better.
The United States just wrapped up its first ever championship in the World Baseball Classic. Outside of the games themselves, the biggest storyline involved the tension between Team USA and some of the teams from Latin America. Members of Team USA were perturbed at what they took as over the top demonstrative celebrations by their opponents, and in turn those teams were perturbed at the criticism directed at them from Team USA.
The press, for the most part, spoke glowingly about the players’ passion from the international teams in the World Baseball Classic, especially those players and fans who celebrated like it was Game 7 of the World Series every time something went well. The media opined that celebratory fervor, or as they call it passion, is the future and such antics are necessary to attract young fans. All of which translates into more bat flips, outfield dances, and preening at the plate after each home run.
Of course, one man’s passion as we now describe it can just as easily be defined as narcissism, something we could all do with less of.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.