Who’s got two thumbs and can (professionally) shake the heck out of some hands?

This guy.

Nate is off to the Netherlands for his science-y thing for school, so I, his older sister Elissa, am back to talk to you about what I know best: social graces.

In a freep article about the building anticipation for the Smith-Schwartz handshake, Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas, when asked a question about the potential for handshake-based tension, says, “No, Coach Smith is a tough guy, so he can handle his own. I’m pretty sure he’s a professional at that, shaking hands, so no worries, no worries.” I’m learning all sorts of things about football. What a curious sport: it’s the professional handshake that becomes the true test of toughness! I can’t wait for Sunday.

I just googled “handshakes” and learned a lot that filled me with terror. Apparently, there are a lot of incorrect/occult ways to shake hands. Handshakes, as we know more than ever this week, are charged with meaning. They’re can also be a great way to say hello, so I urge Jim Harbaugh to work on his technique, so he can bring sunshine into the world, like these guys.

When I was a federal government intern in D.C. in college, I learned a lot about the right and wrong ways to shake hands. Since I’m female, it was mostly like this: the right way is firm and confident, almost manly but still slightly feminine, while the wrong way is wimpy or girly, dead-fish-like, or sweaty. There was no danger that our handshakes would start fights. When I googled “handshake video,” I was surprised at how many of the results were for the Jims video. Is this something that men have to worry about when they shake hands? Is there a constant fear that a handshake might turn ugly and start a riot?

In a word, yes.

The Professional

But if I were Jim Schwartz, I wouldn’t worry too much about Mike Smith. He reminds me of one of those guys who pretend they aren’t trying to cut me in line at my neighborhood Starbucks on their way to the Seattle Tennis Club, where they’ll network hang out with guys who know Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who lives down the road. That headset could be swapped out with a bluetooth.

I don’t really think Jim Schwartz has anything to worry about on Sunday, but just in case, I would highly recommend that he study the following video:

I mean, really–who’s got two thumbs, hails from Baltimore, probably learned to scrap pretty well at his all-boys Catholic school and could totally take a guy with bleach-blonde hair in a post-game fight originating from a handshake gone bad?

This guy.


2 thoughts on “Who’s got two thumbs and can (professionally) shake the heck out of some hands?

  1. Steph says:

    Thanks for this article! I enjoyed it! I’m torn over whether teams should continue this tradition or not. On the one hand, it’s respect for other teams. On the other, what’s the point? There’s a good discussion of this over at TC Huddle. I found your article looking for more opinions on this.

    This is a good article. Thanks! Here’s the article that led me here if you’re interested. It’s enjoyable if nothing else. http://www.tchuddle.com/2011/10/what%e2%80%99s-in-a-handshake/

  2. ewashuta says:

    Thanks, Steph. I like the tradition, but I’m a former fencer, and the gentleman’s handshake post-bout is incredibly important, as is the salute before the bout. And both better be done with respect. As angry as I got on the strip, I never had any trouble shaking hands after the bout–it’s just a handshake. Get pissed off in private later. Be a good sport, because people are watching. The final paragraph of the article you linked to is, I think, spot-on.

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