For a few fleeting moments each year, the planets align and all the major sports are in action at once in some form or another. One such time recently passed, when hockey and football were in full effect, NBA was in its preseason, and the World Series was underway. During these times, our great nation is lucky enough to sit back and watch one of the greatest staples in all of sport: the buttslap.
Yes, the buttslap. When professional athletes from the four major sports – plus college – have their juices flowing in competitive battle, it is a veritable smorgasbord of buttslaps for the American viewer. Could any time be more glorious for this great nation? I think not.
I know that I do not speak for myself when I say that the buttslap makes all our collective aortas go mushy. But what exactly is the buttslap? Simply put, it is the physical manifestation of a compliment on the court, field or ice. It is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged by some coaches.
I certainly can remember the first time I delivered a buttslap. I was just a young sprite, playing junior varsity basketball as a freshman. I was shy yet able, curious yet underdeveloped. We were playing the neighboring Catholic school in town before the varsity faced its team, and we were down a slew of buckets. Lucky for us, our talented cheerleaders executed marvelous chants and really got our squad revving in the fourth quarter. We rallied a momentous comeback, capped off by a brash and highly risky no-look pass I delivered to our hairy sophomore stud, who banked it in to take the lead. The five parents in the stands and Hairy’s girlfriend let out a collective “woot.” The electricity in the gymnasium that winter evening was palpable.
Our opponents called a timeout. As my squad ran back to the huddle, Hairy pointed to me in acknowledgement. I nodded back but he could see there was something more in my eyes. As we approached the bench, he gave me a look that said, “Yeah, go for it.” So I did. I gave his 15-year-old junk trunk a solid buttslap. All was good.
But enough about my exploits, I am writing to you today for two reasons: to outline the two forms of buttslaps out there and to propose a new one.
The first buttslap is what I call the “buttslap tap.” This is used when a player wants to say, “Nice job out there, buddy,” and taps a cheek of his teammate. Many times this slap occurs when players are substituting for one another, after a nice pass for a jumpshot, a first down, a stolen base, etc.
Then there is the more emphatic “straight-armed buttslap whack.” These happen during more heated moments of the game like when a teammate gets fouled and still hits the shot, or after a goal to tie the game. The “straight-armed buttslap whack” is just what it sounds like: the deliverer swings his locked arm down and then up to the cheek of the desired teammate.
What I propose today to all those athletes out there is a third and new type of buttslap. This slap is a hybrid of the other two, combining both force and finesse. However, this buttslap can only be used in rare, exciting situations, as in a four-point play, a thunderous dunk that sends the game into overtime or a game-winning grand slam.
Here are the directions for the giver of this new buttslap:
- Approach the desired player from the rear.
- Tap the side of either cheek twice with the side of your hand.
- Bring both arms straight back behind you and thrust them forward into your teammate’s cheeks.
- (a) Finally, squeeze the cheeks with all your manual might, kneading the rump with joyous affection.
- (b) (Optional – only proceed if you have strong back): Bend your legs to lift your teammate off his feet and above your head via his backside.
To all those professional athletes out there, next time you are out on the court, on the field or in the dugout, try out this buttslap. The rise it will evoke in your teammates will pump them up like you have never seen before.