The subject of unwritten rules in sports will always stoke the embers of animated discussions among diehard sports fans.
Other sports enthusiasts like me revile unwritten rules and dismiss these quirky superstitions as loosely interpreted gentlemen’s agreements. Breaking them is not illegal, but unwritten rules purists view any transgression as highly unethical.
Who can argue with the premise that if unwritten rules are so important to be followed, then they should be written down, chronicled and brow beaten into the hearts and minds of those who play, officiate, coach, report on or attend actual games.
It should come as no surprise that unwritten rules capture a written spot in my book Worst About Sports.
Here are my top ten picks for one of the anathemas of the sports world – unwritten rules:
- in football, no contact should be initiated by the defense during a football kneel down at the end of a game whose outcome appears to have been decided.
- in baseball, a batter should never cross the pitcher’s mound after grounding or flying out.
- in golf, replace all divots, keep quiet when others are putting or driving, stand away from the pin, rake sand traps, etc. There are plenty of them in this sport.
- in hockey, only Stanley Cup Champions are allowed to actually touch the Prince of Wales Trophy.
- in soccer, giving up possession of the ball to the opposing team which just lost a player to injury.
- in basketball, dribble out the clock at the end of the game when the outcome has been decided.
- in baseball, don’t steal when several runs ahead.
- in baseball, don’t bunt when your team has a cushy lead.
- in baseball, don’t stand in the batter’s box admiring your home run and further embarrassing the pitcher.
- in baseball, never discuss a no-hitter or perfect in the making.
I’m certain there are plenty more unwritten rules in the NFL, NBA and NHL. But, I won’t waste any more of my time writing down rules that other sports fans believe should be painstakingly followed, but never written down.
MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!
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