Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Put your left foot in; take your left foot out

Celebration in sports is not entirely uncommon, except for croquet where the closest thing to a victory dance is when an elderly gentleman trips over his partner’s mallet and falls to the ground. For sports fans stateside, the home plate antics of Prince Fielder (VIDEO) of the Milwakee Brewers or the post-touchdown moves of Chad OchoCinco (VIDEO) probably set the standard for major league sports. Yes, most of these celebrations are staged, with sometimes the entire team involved in the practice sessions prior to the game, but some have to be purely emotion based right? After much deliberation about the only real example we could come up with was that awkward missed “high-five” between Tiger Woods and his caddie Steve Williams (VIDEO). That celebration occurred horribly so many times that Hank Haney actually had Tiger and Steve practice that move in training. But those are major league sports in America, what about soccer, the beautiful game celebrated the world over?

Soccer is unique in the fact that a single point can be the difference between winning and losing, promotion and relegation, world cup victory and quiet flight back to Holland. Of all professional sports in the modern era the idea of an impromptu celebration still holds true because the scoring can come from almost any of the position players at anytime during the match; it’s hard to rehearse for the unknown. However, the rehearsed celebrations of the strikers for club and national teams all over the world can nearly gain a bronze medal in gymnastics or a trip to the final four on “So you think you can dance?” Here is a list of some of our favorite celebrations in recent years along with links.

Fresh off the USMNT’s run through the world cup we would be remised not to include the classic “home-plate-slide-to-the-corner” by Landon Donovan following his winning goal in stoppage time against Algeria (VIDEO). The heart felt favorite would have to be Clint Dempsey always pointing towards the heavens in memory of his sister who passed away when he was younger (VIDEO). However, my vote for best celebration on the USMNT actually was from a year prior at the Confederations Cup. Charlie Davies and Jozy Altidore debuted the “Stanky Legg” as they tore up South Africa. You will have to Wikipedia “GS Boyz” to learn more, but I dig this move because it is simple, rehearsed, and it made our strikers look cooler than they already are (VIDEO). I broke out the Stanky Legg the other night after finishing a 26 oz steak at Outback and was promptly asked to leave.

From the European club scene, Carlos Tevez, now of Man City, has our vote for two great celebrations. Tearing a page from Pearl Jam (circa 1997) Mr. Tevez, after scoring his first EPL goal, peeled off his jersey and jumped full speed into the crowd. Talk about making an impact on the fans; check out the guy in the first row who gets taken out (VIDEO). The second celebration was shortly after the birth of his baby daughter when Carlos pulls out a pacifier from his shorts and runs around with it in his mouth after scoring. As a new parent I would hope he didn’t return the pacifier to his daughter following 90 minutes in his shorts, but the gesture is unique and appreciated (VIDEO). Then there are the many flips of Manchester United’s Nani before Sir Alex Ferguson put an end to it fearing injury for his young striker (VIDEO). And finally there is that tall drink of water from Tottenham and England fame, Peter Crouch, doing what can only be described as a controlled seizure on his 6’-7” frame (VIDEO).

The bottom line is regardless of whether your celebration move is rehearsed or impromptu make it from the heart and you cannot go wrong. Additionally, if you are in a position where you score for club or country on a regular basis we would love to hear from you
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