Things You Can Only Get Away with in Sports

Matt Haupert@@matthaupFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2014

Things You Can Only Get Away with in Sports

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    The sports world is very different than the real world.

    Very different.

    You see, in sports exists a strange parallel universe in which butt slaps are common and acceptable and a successful day at work results in a celebration dance and a press conference.

    In a regular workplace, you wouldn't get away with cheerleaders supporting your every move.

    In a regular workplace, it's not OK for fans to show up painted in your company's colors.

    But in sports, all bets are off. In sports, we have become so accustomed to so many strange norms and bizarre traditions that it rarely even fazes us.

    Take a moment and think about things that may be standard and acceptable in your own home and at your own job.

    Now take a step back, click through the following slides and realize for the first time just how truly weird the world of sports really is.

Butt Slaps

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    A butt slap from one doctor to another at the hospital is a sexual harassment case and grounds for termination. A butt slap from a coach to a player?

    A job well done.

    Here's a social experiment for you: Give a buddy a butt slap at work tomorrow, but say "Good game!" when you do. If you get a weird look, try calling him "Rookie." If you get another weird look, go tackle somebody.

    Note: All of the above suggestions are regular occurrences if your line of work is playing professional football.

Employee Draft

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Imagine for a moment you've just finished four years of hard work and earned an accounting degree. You graduated summa cum laude and have dreamed your whole life of moving to Chicago to live in the city and work at an accounting firm.

    But! None of the firms in Chicago have a high draft pick this year, and you're considered the best in the class!

    Shoot, looks like you're headed to Cleveland. They've picked first three of the past four years, and last year's guy hardly knows how to work a calculator.

    Oh well, there's always free agency, right?

Shirtless Ice Water Baths at Work

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    Cowboys tight ends went through an unusual drill recently under TE coach Mike Pope, as they were doused in ice water while trying to catch balls.

    Cowboys TE Coach Mike Pope w/Outside The Box Drills #CowboysCamp

    — Steven Van Over (@StevenVanOver) July 31, 2014

    Dousing your employees with ice water to make them better is a tactic not commonly accepted in in the standard American office building.


Dressing Like This

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    I'm sorry, but there really shouldn't be any reason for grown men to paint their faces in bright colors and scream at the top of their lungs as they "encourage" another group of men to do a good job at work.

    Unfortunately, sports have given men just like Shoulder Pads Guy above a perfect outlet to show off their passion.

    This week I'm showing up to my favorite bank with my face painted in company colors. I just want them to know they're supported.

Angry Fans Heckling You at Work

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    Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

    Talk about an unhealthy working environment. Every move you make is scrutinized by tens of thousands of impatient, short-tempered observers who really have no idea what you're doing and no perception of how hard you're working at it.

    On the contrary, though, I'm sure the cheers are nice.

    I wonder if there's a way to fit a makeshift version of the 12th Man into my workspace.


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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    "Boys, we had a good season. Our headlines were sharper, our articles were stronger, and the layout of the paper was the best it's looked in years. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to get us into the newspaper postseason. Now let's all take several months off to think about what we can do better, and we'll come back stronger than ever. Alright? Alright! Who wants to play some golf?"


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    Gus Ruelas/Associated Press

    Look, I'm not complaining about my job. I'm just saying, this article would probably turn out a lot better if there were a row of pretty girls in skimpy outfits chanting:

    "Come on, Matt, WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! You can do it, FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!"

The Trading Deadline

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Billy: Mrs. Simmons, how come Mr. Willis isn't here today?

    Mrs. Simmons: I'm sorry, Billy. He was sent to another elementary school for two veteran science teachers and cash considerations.

    Billy: Aw, man. How come they couldn't trade Mr. Anderson instead?

    Mrs. Simmons: He's got a no-trade clause in his contract. Trust me, the whole school is suffering for it.

Press Conferences Before and After Work

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    Ron Hoskins/Getty Images

    It's a strange concept, isn't it? Typically athletes and coaches will be asked questions about an upcoming game before they play it. Then they'll play. Then they'll be asked questions about how it went.

    What if I want to turn on the TV and see similar pre- and post-work analysis from my favorite shoe salesman or plumber? What went wrong with that toilet today? How do you think you'll fix it for tomorrow? Do you think there's too much pressure now that fans have started comparing you to some of the best plumbers of all time?

    Athletes get all the love.

Fantasy Drafts

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    Brian Ach/Associated Press

    "And with the first pick in this year's fantasy mailman draft, I think I'll taaaaakkkee...."

    Can we all just take a moment to recognize the fact that some men make a pretty decent living predicting how guys in another profession will do at work, and then putting together fictional groups of these men and pretending to be their boss?

    OK, glad we're on the same page. Now, if you'll excuse me, my fantasy football draft is in 17 days and I still have no idea who to take with the first pick.

Free Agency

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    In sports, it's paradise—that beautiful golden time where guys like Robinson Cano can force teams to bid obscenely high amounts of money for him, and LeBron James can put on an entire television special to announce which team is lucky enough to get him.

    It's an athlete's chance to "test the market" and get, usually, a lot more money than they really deserve.

    In the real world, we call this "unemployment," and it's rarely something we'll opt out of a contract for.

Complaining About Multi-Million Dollar Contracts

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    When the Red Sox offered ace Jon Lester a contract extension that would have paid him $70 million over four years, many fans and writers were disgusted by an offer so low it was considered an insult.

    Aaaaaaand that is precisely the difference between the professional athlete and the regular, ordinary working man.

    If my boss is out there somewhere, I promise, I PROMISE, if you offer me a $70 million extension, I'll accept it without hesitation.

Grown Men Named After Cute Animals

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    John Konstantaras/Associated Press
    • Mike Pouncey, 6'5", 305 pounds
    • Daryn Colledge, 6'4", 308 pounds
    • Branden Albert, 6'5", 310 pounds
    • Dallas Thomas, 6'5", 315 pounds
    • Ja'Wuan James, 6'6", 318 pounds

    Five men over 6'0" and 300 pounds. Five gigantic specimens that could crush you with a single blow. A human wall with no purpose but to stop you in your tracks.

    And you can call them...

    The Dolphins! Yay! Aren't dolphins cute? Yippeeeeeeee!

Celebration Dances

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    I think it's an absolute travesty that a doctor has no opportunity to do a Lambeau Leap after finishing a great surgery.

    A teacher isn't given the chance to spike a football after an amazing lesson.

    A construction worker doesn't get mobbed by his coworkers after building a beautiful house.

    And that's exactly what's wrong with America today.

    Now, if it seems to take a little while longer than usual for me to get my next article up, know that it's because I'm running through the streets high-fiving my fans and doing back flips to celebrate all I've accomplished.

    A victory mob will be welcomed and appreciated.

Giving Away Your Tools of the Trade to Fans

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Baseball players are known to flip balls to screaming fans at the end of an inning. Football players will sometimes share the ball with a fan after scoring a touchdown.

    So how come my barber never gives me his clippers after a fresh cut? And why don't farmers ever roll their tractors to a friendly passerby at the end of a hard day?

    Athletes, it seems, are models of selflessness, and hopefully one day we can all learn their generous ways.

Walk-Up Music, PA Announcers and Other Dramatic Entrances

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Cue the beginning of "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC. The PA announcer's voice bellows through the sound system:


    The crowd goes wild, the music gets louder, and Mr. Johnson does a lap around the classroom, passing out worksheets as the strobe lights rage on.

Wearing Some Guy's Work Outfit on a Daily Basis

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Today, there will be a lot of people wearing jerseys with the names and numbers of their favorite athletes printed across the back.

    You might see your friends wearing Jeter's No. 2, Manning's No. 18 or LeBron's new Cleveland No. 23.

    But not me. Instead of dressing up in an athlete's work outfit, I think I'll dress up in my dad's work outfit.

    He's a college professor, so you'll see me in khaki pants, a tweed jacket and a tie with a pin on my shirt that says "Dr. Haupert."

    If anyone asks, I've got my response ready.

    "What? It's my favorite jersey!"

    Think I'm a genius? An idiot? Let me know on Twitter