High fives after missed free throws = celebrating failure

By May 18, 2020

Every now and then I need a good laugh. You know the hearty ones that make it difficult to speak or even breathe? Cringey American Idol auditions do that for me. They’re my guilty pleasure. While I watch contestants confidently sing off-key, I consider many things. Things like, did the contestants consult friends before auditioning? If they did, it’s likely that their friends weren’t being honest.

As of late, it seems like lovers of sports are longing for a chance to laugh too. They miss the excitement of live games; the highs, the lows and the unforeseen. To compensate, some are forced to watch reruns while others recollect fond memories of sports on social media. Almost immediately, I started scrolling through their virtual memory lane. I didn’t have to scroll far before I saw someone confess to missing, “NBA players missing a free throw and then high-fiving all their teammates.”

After reading it again and again, I could see how similar it was to my guilty pleasure. If he’s no good at free throws why high-five him?

I wanted to see it in action for myself. My search revealed numerous videos of Andre Drummond. Drummond is an American basketball player who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2012. One specific video showed him missing several free throws at games in the 2017/18 NBA season. Nevertheless, his teammates kept high-fiving him. Here’s why I think high-fiving players who miss free throws doesn't work.

First of all, viewers are going to wonder what the hell is wrong with a team that doesn't mind losing. They may get the impression that you don’t know what a high-five is. A high five is a mini celebration. It’s done when someone accomplishes something. Missing a free throw is not an accomplishment. It’s time for improvement and the player missing the free throws deserves to know that.

Sometimes, players get not one, but two or even three chances at a free-throw. When they miss the first one, they go in for a high-five. But then they miss a second and go in for another high five. Somebody is getting duped. Either the teammates or the person missing the free throws isn’t seeing the plot. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice …

Naturally, teammates want to encourage each other on the court, I get that. But here’s the thing about hope. Hope is a future concept. It cannot be true, it can only become true. Neither can hope be false, it can only turn out to be false. A high-five, in this case, is a gesture of hope. Teammates hope that the player will make the next free throw. Still, there’s a probability that what is being hoped for (successful free throws) will not happen. It leaves too much room for disappointment.

I think high-fives are also a way of sparing the free thrower's feelings. We are all guilty of it. We’re afraid of hurting other people's feelings. Take, for instance, a couple going out on a date. The woman gets dolled up, she feels iffy about her outfit. She proceeds to ask her partner for their opinion. “Does this dress make me look fat?” Her partner responds and says the dress suits her well. During the date, the woman’s dress rips because the fabric was under too much pressure. Chances are the woman will doubt her partner’s opinion the next time around, if she even asks for their opinion again. Similarly, sparing the feelings of the player can backfire and affect relationships within the team.

High-fiving players who miss free throws can give the impression that they’re doing their best.  For me, you have to be aware of your faults and flaws to improve them. When you believe that you’re doing okay, you will disregard opportunities for improvement. Being stagnant can leave you with humiliating results.

Let me skip over to cricket for an example of this. Courtney Walsh, one of the greatest pace bowlers of all time used to get cheered for surviving a ball when he bat. Or for leaving the ball alone, can you believe it, leaving the ball alone. The result, Walsh never learned to bat. Never tried very hard at it and today holds the record for the most ducks in the history of Test cricket. Imagine that!.

Drummond improved his free throws drastically but some may not be as fortunate as him.

NBA players missing free throws and then high-fiving all their teammates is a no-no for me. I am not a fan.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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