Monday, May 6, 2013

Finger Pointed to Heaven = Excessive Celebration?

A Texas high school relay team was denied the chance to participate in the state track meet when a team member pointed to heaven after anchoring his team to an impressive victory. In what has to be considered a bizarre interpretation of the excessive celebration rule, officials ruled that pointing a single finger to heaven was a "hand gesture" worthy of barring the team from the state championships.

While I can think of some hand gestures (eg flipping off the other teams) that could be considered as poor sportsmanship, I don't see how you can go so far as to interpret something like pointing to heaven (or even crossing oneself) as excessive celebration.

I also don't see a "separation of church and state" issue here, as long as the school is not requiring or encouraging kids to engage in a particular ritual.

These are kids, for crying out loud. If they did something remarkable, like getting a new personal best, they should be allowed to celebrate within the bounds of good sportsmanship. As long as they aren't taunting the other teams or engaging in a prolonged celebration that is keeping them from shaking the other teams' hands in a timely way, I just don't see what the big deal is.