Why do grown men skip?

October 27, 2008

by Stephen Wiblemo

I have never understood a certain phenomena that can be commonly seen in all levels of athletic competition.

Actually, I’ve never really thought about it that much until recently, while watching the World Series.

I’m talking about those precious moments that follow a game-winning home run, or a last-second buzzer beater to win in overtime. I’m talking about the celebration.

But not just the celebration, more specifically, I’m talking about the times when muscular, adult men can become reduced to nothing more than galloping pixies.

How many times have we seen it happen in a basketball game – be it high school, college, or NBA – where some guy hits an insane last-minute basket, well beyond the three-point line, and wins the game or sends it into overtime.

What happens after the basket goes in? Pandemonium erupts, celebration ensues, and the inhibitions of the players and coaches go out the window.

Or what about the seen of a baseball player as he frolics around first base after getting a game-wining hit in the ninth inning. And then his teammates jump out of the dugout and join him in his happy dance on the middle of the field.

It even happens in football, the sport I consider to be “the manliest” – but only because professional wrestling is fake.

Think about a game-winning, hail-marry pass with a few seconds left in the game. Now look as the quarterback gracefully lunges into the arms of his massive guardians, the offensive linemen, and then they both go join the receiver and the rest of the party happening on the sideline.

One thing I do know, however, is that it can strike anybody, even those who may be aware of this affliction. Even myself.
I was the starting center fielder for the Glencoe Brewers amateur baseball team in the third and final game between the Brewers and the Winsted Wildcats in the Crow River Valley League playoffs.

Both teams played hard, but with one out left in the ninth inning, the Brewers looked like they were going to the regional tournament.

The final hit was a high, but routine fly ball to center field, and as I squeezed it in my glove to secure the win, I remember holding my glove high, and running toward the infield.

I don’t remember much after that, but according to witnesses – my wife and parents – I could be seen making large lunges, also known as skipping.

I believe I have figured out a formula that could lead us to discovering the cause of male skipping.

In high pressure situations, like taking a last-second shot in basketball, the male’s body can become dangerously full with adrenalin. After the basket is made, and the game is won, the male no longer needs all of that built up adrenalin, so he must exhaust the excess in a safe way.

He does that via a combination of two moves, I believe. Those moves are running and jumping.

The male will exhaust his extra energy immediately following a game by running and jumping. But, sometimes the male will be so caught up in the exhausting process, that he will accidently run and jump at the same time, the result of which is man skipping.

To be fair, this phenomena does not discriminate between genders. But, for whatever reasons, the sight of women skipping just doesn’t seem as awkward as a herd of men.

There is still much to be learned about this affliction, and I think I may have to review hours of more tape before I can come up with a cure.

What is a harrier?

After watching Troy Koivisto make DC history by becoming the first Charger cross country runner to qualify for the state meet in 11 years, I was interested to know more about the last time it happened, back in 1997.

So, I pulled out one of several big, black archive books that we keep in the Enterprise Dispatch office. Each one is a dense and vast tome of knowledge about DC’s past.

I flipped open the one marked “1997” and started hunting. I found it in October quickly, but while I was going through the old pages, I kept seeing two unfamiliar words in the headlines: harrier and gridder.

This was written 11 years ago, when I was 13. So, I don’t know if I am that young, or those words are that archaic, but I had to get a dictionary to figure it out.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out – harrier = cross country runner and gridder = football player – but I have never heard those terms before.

I was so impressed with my new words that I worked them into the front page this week.

So, if you read those words recently, and you weren’t sure what they meant, I’m glad I could save you the time of using your dictionary. If you already knew what those words meant, you are way ahead of me.