High school football team won't shake hands anymore

By Anthony Miller  bio | email
Posted by Coleman Swierc

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - It's believed to be the ultimate symbol of sportsmanship.

After beating each other up for four quarters football players meet and shake hands.

It's a symbol you won't see anymore after Summerville High games.

"I'm 83 I don't know how much longer I can coach but I don't think I'll ever do it again unless my bosses tell me I have to," said Summerville football coach John McKissick.

McKissick has probably forgotten more football than you'll ever know, he's seen it all.

After his team got into a post game fight with Strafford two weeks ago he says he's seen enough.

"When you play in a contact sport it's a lot of emotion involved and sometimes the emotion gets out of hand and I'm not gonna take a chance on that," said McKissick.

His decision doesn't break any rules.

"We don't require any football, not only football, we don't require any sports team to shake hands after games," said South Carolina High School League Commissioner Jerome Singleton.

So is sportsmanship dead or is the tradition an outdated one?

LeBron James refused to shake hands after his team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs last year.

The bigger question may be how does this look to our smallest competitors?

"Our goal is to build better young people to make them grow up to be better adults," said Coach Charles Frederick of the Summerville Sertoma Little League.

Summerville Sertoma has been shaping young athletes for 40 years.

"We always have the coaches and the kids shake hands to show them it's ok to win or lose because in life your gonna win or lose," said Frederick.

Coach McKissick says he preaches sportsmanship to his players on and off the field.

But when it comes to his next handshake he might look to the ring for a little inspiration.

"What do they do in a boxing match?  Muhammed Ali and Frazier what do they do?  They shake hands before," said McKissick.

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