Chris Russell hates sports celebrations and fun

Ben Krimmel
July 05, 2019 - 2:05 pm

Chris Russell should know when the sun begins to fade there is still enough time to figure out how to chase his blues away and dance with somebody. 

But the 106.7 The Fan host is not a fan of sports celebrations, dancing, or fun, in general.

Why is this? Well, Russell wants you to know this about him: "I'm ridiculously old and stale and kinda old-fashioned and maybe a Neanderthal."

"I'm cynical, I'm critical, I'm negative, I'm old, I'm stale, I admit all of that," Russell said Thursday while filling in for The Sports Junkies. "I think I have a pretty good personality, I think I'm pretty nice to people. I think. I think most people like me. I don't think I treat people poorly. I think I'm pretty nice to deal with. I complain a lot. I'm bitter a lot."

Russell said all of that to "set the scene" for his main take: Sports has changed too much in his life, he's not too happy about it, and dancing (not ping-pong in locker rooms) is actually what annoys him the most.

"One thing that has absolutely has changed is like this freedom of expression," he said. "Is this freedom of celebration, is this 'I'm going to not only celebrate and be happy, but I'm going to show the whole damn world how happy I am, how good I am, how special I am by dancing, by doing a teacup impersonation, by doing a team photo after an interception in the end zone, by doing leapfrog after I score a touchdown in the NFL, by doing an Odell Beckham and peeing like a dog in Philadelphia and still getting a five-year contract extension because of it. Because I'm cool and I'm Odell Beckham and I can pee like a dog, I guess, on the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field turf.' 

"All of this stuff that we have seen a proliferation of over the last five years, I mean it used to be taboo if a player flipped his bat and kinda walked and stared as he hit a home run. Old school Major League Baseball, you were getting plunked in the ear or your teammate was getting plunked in the back the next time up and through the lineup. Now we see it a lot more." 

At the FIFA Women's World Cup, American forward Alex Morgan has been criticized by some in the British press for pantomiming sipping tea after scoring the game-winning goal against England. Teammate Megan Rapinoe has also been the target of scorn for her celebrations. 

Rapinoe's response: "Wah, wah, wah. I mean, it's like, we're at the World Cup, what do you want us to do? This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment. I don't think anyone truly believes that we disrespect the game or disrespect our opponents."

"We work hard, we like to play hard and we like to have fun and enjoy ourselves and these are the absolute biggest moments to do that," Rapinoe added.

But Russell has a problem with spontaneous or planned expressions of joy on the field after a player scores a goal or hits a homer. 

"We've gone from high-fiving and a butt slap or pat on the ass to, 'Now we dance a jig in the dugout,'" Russell said about the Nationals post-home run dugout celebrations. "You even see guys with no personalities like Stephen Strasburg, who is about as interesting as a saltine cracker, like smiling and laughing and having a good time and hooting and hollering."

But, isn't that the point of a celebration? For fans to have a chance to see another side of a player? To see more of a player's personality? Isn't that a good thing for sports? 

"That's all cute, that's all fun, that's all great. That's great for TV" Russell said. "Davey Martinez the manager said... 'We can't do it on the field, that's showing up the opponent. As long as you do it in the dugout you're OK.' How about we go one step further, I would say to Davey, how about we be professionals and how about we don't dance and jive and breakdance and do all sorts of stupid little things."

"Am I the only one that this annoys?" Russell asked.

Well, if you agree with Russell, perhaps you should head for the small town of Bomont, Utah and reinstitute the ban on dancing.

"I don't know why all of the sudden everything that we do great in sports," Russell concludes, "has to have this theatrical production to it."

What is Russell doing this weekend? Going to watch WWE, where there is no theatrical production at all. 

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