Celebrating After Every Point

I was watching some Olympics coverage yesterday, and started thinking about rituals of celebration:

  • In indoor volleyball, the team converges after every successful point. There’s a momentary huddle where, I assume, encouraging and congratulatory remarks are exchanged.
  • In gymnastics, the girls (for, yes, they’re mostly still girls) of the American team gave each other the most cursory of hugs after each routine.
  • Basketball seems to reflect what occurs in the NBA. There’s very little reaction after the average basket, and just some macho posturing after a particularly righteous slam dunk.
  • I didn’t see what happened in water polo, but I think it’s much like basketball.

In games where teams accrue points, there’s a correlation between the frequency of scoring and the amount of celebration. In hockey and football (that is, soccer), the entire team congregates around the scorer to congratulate them. At the other end of the scale, there’s very little reaction from teammates in basketball or doubles tennis.

Is there a threshold where the group-to-congratulate stops? Maybe it’s not that simple. There’s potentially 25 points in a volleyball game, though there’s easily 75 to 100 in a match. That’s actually more ‘scores’ that the average basketball game, so I guess there’s no hard and fast rule.

Can you think of other high-scoring sports where the team celebrates after every point?


  1. I feel like there is a bit of celebration after each set of cricket points, though since only two runners (batsmen?) are on the field at one time, there isn’t as much opportunity for team togetherness.

    On a slightly related note, my favorite part about playing sports is the macho posturing after a point, tackle, hit or otherwise important play.

  2. The World Ultimate and Guts championships (http://www.wugc2008.com/) were held this past week at UBC. The ultimate games were played to 17.

    Entire teams (up to 30) rushed the field after each score. The top games were about 2 hours long and would have around 25-30 scores.

  3. Points would likely be celebrated in basketball for longer (and more often) except for the fact that the play is still essentially live; the ball can be put back in play immediately, resulting in a fast break in the other direction. Celebrating can’t get in the way of one’s position.

    By contrast, there is plenty of time before the ball goes live again in volleyball; the refs give the opposing team time to reset and give their full attention to the server.

  4. It’s funny that you noticed the volleyball celebrations. After five minutes of it I had to turn it. Every point was a high five, butt-slapping hug fest, and their was still potentially four more sets to go.
    I prefer the Naslund/Linden low key celebrations.

    In football there’s a celebration after every good play.

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