The legendary disco band Chic had a 1978 hit that peaked at No. 12 on Billboard’s R&B Singles chart and No. 38 on the Hot 100 chart. Part of the lyrics went as follows:
“Everybody dance, do-do-do,
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Music never lets you down
Puts a smile on your face
Dancing helps relieve the pain
Soothes your mind, makes you happy again”
Rosemary Plorin should play that song, grab her 9-year-old daughter and twirl around their living room for a spell. The little girl would enjoy it and the mother might gain a better appreciation of joyful expression.
In case you missed it, Plorin is the Nashville mom whose note to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was published Monday by The Charlotte Observer. She was upset by Newton’s touchdown dance in the Panthers’ 27-10 victory against the host Titans, claiming that the 10-second routine was off-putting and raised questions in her fourth-grader.
“Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter,” Plorin wrote. “The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the “in your face” taunting of both Titans’ players and fans. We saw it all.”
Among the schoolgirl’s questions: “Won’t he get in trouble for doing that? Is he trying to make people mad” Do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled brat?
“I didn’t have great answers for her,” Plorin continued, “and honestly, in an effort to minimize your negative impact and what was otherwise a really fun day, I redirected her attention to the cheerleaders.”
Right. No danger of chest puffs or pelvic thrusts there.
Did someone turn the calendar back to 1978? Are we really getting worked up over end zone celebrations? Is the battle to respect cultural differences still raging?
Plorin’s letter contained long-established code language used to critique those who are too, um, colorful for some tastes. She touched on old-time favorite themes like “you are paid millions of dollars” and “you’re a role model.” She claimed that Newton displayed “egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship.
“Is that what your coaches and mentors modeled for you, Mr. Newton?”
I doubt it. Few if any could do the “Dab” and the “Hit Dem Folks” as well as Newton in the end zone.
Granted, the routine seemed a tad long. But Titans linebacker Avery Williamson (who took pleasure in a sack dance earlier in the game) made matters worse by sprinting to Newton and yelling at him. That only prompted the QB to perform a couple more moves right in Williamson’s face.
“I’m a firm believer,” Newton told reporters, “if you don’t like me to do it, then don’t let me in the end zone. I try to make my game kid-like so people will see I’m enjoying what I do. I can’t repeat it enough: I’m not doing it to be disrespectful to nobody. I’m more so doing it just to shine a light and give people a smile or just having fun doing what I do.”
The incident brings to mind a radio commercial when the announcer asks “What’s the best touchdown celebration?” He answers that the best is when you simply flip the ball to the ref because “you’re just doing your job.” Than he brags about his company’s success at its job, delivering packages.
Maybe a driver should try it while being pursued by 11 men – big, fast, strong and padded – who want to hit him really hard before he reaches the mail room.
I’d much rather see players who are free to express the full range of human emotion, opposed to every player being like, say, former Lions great Barry Sanders, who could’ve been the inspiration for that radio ad.
Act like you’ve been there before? Giants wideout Victor Cruz does that every time he breaks into his signature salsa celebration.
It’s kind of like churches. You might prefer services where there’s hardly a peep heard or a hand clapped. Or, like yours truly, you might prefer services where music, singing and dancing are part of the attraction.
Plorin should’ve told her daughter that Newton was just happy and having fun. She should’ve explained how Newton routinely makes children happy by handing them the football after he scores. She also should’ve made the distinction that pro athletes, unlike scholastic and collegiate, are paid entertainers.
Some are more into “the show” than others.
But that’s a personality trait, not a character flaw.
Maybe Plorin is among those folks who wouldn’t dance if their life depended on it. They’re too self-conscious and reserved. They lack confidence and believe they lack rhythm. I think they’d be just fine if they danced as if no one was watching. Then I again, I love to dance and don’t need music.
However, for those who insist on sitting still, or flipping the ball to the ref, it’s no problem. Just sit back and watch others who don’t mind shaking a leg (or a tail feather). Just try to enjoy it and celebrate with them.
Remember, it’s OK to have some fun while playing a game and living your life.