Crio’s Q: The changing face of sporting etiquette

I’m interested in how sporting etiquette changes over time.

Golf, for example, is a game of great disciplines and accepted protocol. When did players walking out the “front” (lip) of bunkers become acceptable? This was never allowed in my recollection, but has become commonplace – I saw a caddie lend a club to help wrench a pro from a greenside trap during FOX’s USPGA golf coverage this weekend.

Another shift has been in handshake habits. Aussie Rules seems to have lost its prematch greeting.

Cricket’s embraced the “Rugbyesque” grudging consolation line post-match.


  1. Is still etiquette to clap the opposition captain when he comes into bat? And then sledge the hell out of him!

  2. Andrew Fithall says

    When I was a junior basketballer, at the end of the game, all players from both teams would form an arms-around-the-shoulders circle and each team would then give three cheers with a stamp of the feet. Doesn’t happen anymore.

  3. #1. Mark, having returned to cricket about 15 months ago after a 13 year absence, I can give you a categoric answer of “YES”!

  4. John Butler says

    It used to be poor cricket etiquette to question umpires. Now it’s officially sanctioned.

  5. Racial Abuse is no longer etiquette.

    Belittling women is no longer etiquette.

    Exposing genitalia to the opposition crowd is no longer etiquette.

    Oblution (of the solid variety) over the side of publicly used ferries in Hong Kong Harbour while on a VFL premiership celebratory footy trip is no longer etiquette.

  6. There go the good old days!

  7. Shirts tucked in has fallen away, though not yet in golf.
    The untucked shirt looks most ridiculous at cricket where, only recently, good umpires would stop the game to address such a misdemeanour.

  8. Alovesupreme says

    I suspect you didn’t arrive in time to see our spiritual leader jth make his way to the wicket with the spinnaker flying on Sunday. Or perhaps you did and your observation is a p***take?

  9. Apparently it used to be etiquette to dip your hands into the big drum of jellied pigs trotters, served with a beer, in the Scraggers rooms after the game at Western Oval.

    My source says that after the initial shock he ate one and eventually looked forward to the post match repast every visit.

  10. Alovesupreme,
    I missed JTH’s innings as Tom was bowling over the road.
    John, perhaps, is a new age kind of guy.

  11. I’d like to see footballers shake hands before the game as they used to. Its not a sign of weakness or lack of focus; on the contrary. Last season a player did try to shake the hand of his opponent and was ignored (can’t remember the game but remember the incident), and the “expert” commentators bagged the bloke for not having his mind on the job.

    What was the Greek term that JT Harms wrote about? – The Agon; respect for the game, respect for the contest, and respect for one’s opponent.

  12. I recently watched Sunderland’s 1973 FA cup win over Leeds (which contains btw the greatest ever save in the history of the game) and was knocked out by two observations: the players rarely stayed on the ground when knocked over (might have happened twice when they were genuinely hurt) and occasionally a player would get the ball for his opponent’s throw-in or free kick if he was closer to it.

    It’s instructive to watch kids play soccer today — they feel an urge to retrieve the ball for their opponent if they are closer to it because (I think) they want to get on with the game. It gets stomped out of them as they go up through the grades.

  13. Too late for St Kilda fans, but jumper swapping seems gone from Aussie Rules. There’s the awkward/embarrassing “sometimes” in soccer as, for example, a fringe player edges towards Messi at 90 minutes! What is the standard now in other sports?

  14. A number of things, alovesupreme, have been taken in to consideration when choosing to wear the cricket shirt out: the public good and my dignity being two that immediately spring to mind.

    I’m not sure a nylon cricket spinnaker tucked in to 1989 bowls creams would have served anyone well, and as a student (but not necessarily a disciple) of Benthamite Utilitarianism I felt bound to bring the most good to the most people, particualrly insofar as saving my own family from embarrassment is concerned.

  15. John Butler says

    As I know from bitter personal experience, when you reach a certain stage of portliness the shirt-out isn’t a conscious fashion decision, merely the laws of physics overwhelming the capabilities of cloth.

  16. Whoa there lads. No offence intended and I do the same on the footpath. However, watching U12s with shirts to ankles made me hope it does not become accepted at elite level. as Arma would write, “That is all”!

  17. Two other things on the increase in the AFL that don’t fuss me and I’m sure offend some viewers: copycat tattoos (telling the stories of great Maori warriors apparently) and spitting.

  18. I reckon the umps should go back to calling numbers instead of referring to players by their nicknames. Too much familiarity for my liking.

  19. Couldn’s agree with you more Billygoat. If umps can put their arm around a player and call him “mate” it seems strange that players can’t do likewise. Eliminate the grey area.

  20. Dips #17,
    Is it just that we get so much close up vision or is spitting endemic?

  21. I liked the old tribunal etiquette.
    The victim could never remember a thing, or if he did, said there was nothing in it.

  22. Alovesupreme says

    Johns (Harms & Butler)’
    In the matter of shirts in or out,I don’t care either way, I was just picking up on Crio’s insistence on sartorial standards, although his #16 suggests his motive is along the lines of role model behaviour. When Crio insised that the umpire should police this fall from grace, I thought he might have been taking umpire Syson to task for his defalcation in the matter of jth.
    However, he has subsequently explained that he was detained elsewhere at the time of the leader’s innings, so all my assumptions were incorrect (as usual).

  23. Ian,(#12)
    Kids challenge “last touch” and off-side unconsciously. It is, they reckon, the new etiquette. Tennis players stare down linesmen similarly. I’d hate to be a junior tennis player trusting opponents’ calls- though I suspect that may always have been the case.

  24. #12 I believe it was Maxwell extending the paw and Neitz giving him the short shrift.

  25. #11. Dips, didn’t Bob Murphy (WB) write in one of his Age articles last year that he was
    going to champion the cause of shaking hands before and after games?

  26. How about this for challenging etiquette?
    I heard a cricVic rep saying that Andrew MacDonald, though injured, would try to play on sunday where, unable to bowl, he’d bat with a runner. The interviewer got in to the spirit my adding that it would be unsportsmanlike not to allow him this luxury!
    I think as it has reached this point it is better to get rid of the runner option….and 12th man for that matter. Too often abused!

  27. Dave it was Neitz, enought said Worlds’ most gutless player

  28. Now, now, Tony…this thread is about etiquette. Challenging a man’s bravery?

  29. Alovesupreme says

    If the report of MacDonald going into the game intending to use a runner is accurate, I would have thought it’s not only against the spirit but the letter of the laws. I’m pretty sure that it used to be the case, that you could only use a runner due to an injury during the game.
    Having forgotten about J. Harms’ injured toe, when he batted but deferred to a substitue fielder, I was reminded of the joking suggestion that Arjuna Ranautunga needed to field with a runner.

  30. ….saw a few “bravery challenged” BL backmen today at Visy Park ..err Princes/Optus/Gangsterland.
    BBB was on good behaviour but they wouldnt go near him. The usual suspect has the jitters about BH but #21 [red head] was not interested…period.
    For any knacker in that region it really is worth walking into the new Carlton training facility if only to see 16 VFL/AFL cups in one place. Thankfully as I stood in awe it was put into perspective by a grizzled Doggie who half snarled half spat “See what money can buy…”

  31. Funnily, when I thought of etiquette, my greatest concern was with spectators…after all, that’s my only involvement.
    At the cricket, it has changed dramatically. As a kid, the crowd would police your manners…(“sit down until the end of the over son!”)
    The “screen” scoreboards have accelerated the demise of spectator etiquette. No one should move until the end of an over.
    It is also diabolical at the footy, made worseso by the “immediate” kick-in from a point. But, still, no one should move until a goal or, at very least, an out of bounds.
    With all-seating stadiums it is incredibly annoying…if you don’t believe me, look at a wide view of an SCG one-dayer, look in to the background and watch a veritable ant colony of continuous movement.

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