Whimsical Puffin Takes a Stance: Should Professional Sports Adopt a Handshake Line?

Riley Sundew

Updated Monday, April 29, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

In the realm of professional sports, where fierce competition often takes center stage, one might not expect to find a colorful and charismatic puffin advocating for a simple act of sportsmanship. However, a viral image featuring this delightful bird has sparked a debate about the importance of a post-game handshake line.

The image itself captures the essence of the puffin's charm. With its black and white feathers, vibrant orange beak, and distinctive orange feet, the puffin stands mid-stride on a patch of lush green grass. The background, a blur of natural landscape, hints at the puffin's coastal or island habitat.

But it's the text overlaying the image that truly catches the attention. In white font with a shadow effect, it boldly declares, "I THINK ALL PROFESSIONAL SPORTS SHOULD DO A HANDSHAKE LINE AT THE END OF EACH GAME." This meme-style presentation adds a playful twist to the message, combining the puffin's human-like gesture with a call for sportsmanship.

The notion of a handshake line at the end of each game is not entirely foreign to the world of sports. Some commenters on the image point out that various sports already incorporate this practice to varying degrees. For instance, in the NFL and college football, it is customary for players to come together on the field, exchanging handshakes, hugs, and even jersey swaps. This optional gesture serves as a sign of respect and camaraderie between opponents, highlighting the idea that the game is just a game and not a personal grudge.

The NHL takes it a step further, making the handshake line an integral part of the playoffs. Regardless of the outcome, both teams must participate in this time-honored tradition. The media plays a role in upholding this practice, ensuring that any player who refuses to shake hands faces public scrutiny. The handshake line serves as a powerful symbol of sportsmanship, reminding players and fans alike that even in a high-contact sport like hockey, respect prevails.

Rugby League goes beyond a simple handshake, often having teams walk around the field to engage with the crowd and their opponents. This extended interaction signifies that any hostility witnessed during the game was merely part of the competition and not a reflection of personal animosity.

While sports like football, hockey, and rugby have embraced the handshake line, other sports could benefit from adopting this tradition. Supporters argue that it promotes unity, respect, and fair play among athletes. Furthermore, it sends a powerful message to fans, emphasizing that rivalries and competition should not overshadow the fundamental values of sportsmanship.

Of course, not everyone agrees with this sentiment. Some argue that making the handshake line mandatory would strip it of its genuine meaning, reducing it to a mere formality. They believe that genuine sportsmanship should come from within, rather than being enforced by rules or protocols.

Regardless of where one stands on the issue, it's clear that the whimsical puffin has sparked an intriguing conversation about the role of sportsmanship in professional sports. Should a simple act like a post-game handshake line become the norm across all sports? Or should it remain as a choice, left to the discretion of the players?

As the debate unfolds, we can certainly appreciate the puffin's unexpected role as a mascot for sportsmanship. This delightful bird reminds us that even in the competitive world of professional sports, a small gesture of respect and camaraderie can go a long way towards fostering a more inclusive and honorable playing field.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


They should all grease up, too.


Making it mandatory takes all the meaning out of it. All the (social) sports I've ever played, it's been normal to shake hands after. You get to see who the p***y ones, who storm off, are too :)


The NFL and college football sort of have one. Everyone comes out on the field at the end of the game but it's optional. Shake hands, hug, jersey swaps, "good game", etc get exchanged. You can just go back to the locker room. Rarely ends in anything notable


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This has been an unwritten rule for an NHL playoff series for longer than I've been alive. Whether the best of seven series ends in four or seven games, both teams have to do the handshake line. Anyone that doesn't shake (and there are lots of legitimate reasons for this in the playoffs) will get heavily shamed by the media. Hockey is a full contact sport played at very high speeds. But when you lose a best of seven series, you s*** it up your grievances and shake the hands of your opponents.


Rugby League goes beyond this and often has the team walk around the field to go to each stand for pics, signings and conversations with the crowd, alongside members of the other team. It’s such a good signal that any hostility was part of the game and not heartfelt.


Tip to tip.


I'd be happy if they'd stop using public funds to pay for arenas


I believe all professional sports teams should pay for their own stadiums and not burden local populations with subsidizing the billionaires that profit off them.


Grew up playing hockey and this was common

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