You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Greeting hugs with a shrug

When the National Football League conducted its annual draft of college players last week, a recurring ritual played out.

After each selection was revealed, the draftee hugged his family members for their love, hugged his friends for their support, then walked up onto the stage and hugged the commissioner of the league, whose only connection at that point had been to announce the player’s name and identify the team that had drafted him.

Sports historians say the practice of hugging the commissioner began in 2010 when a player named Gerald McCoy, overwhelmed at being chosen by the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, impulsively wrapped his arms around Commissioner Roger Goodell. Heaven only knows what he might have done with the commissioner if he’d been selected by a good team.

Since then the commissioner has received more hugs than a Jewish grandmother. There’s even a website tracking notable hugs. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Goodell, for instance, clinched for more than 10 seconds; whether they respected each other in the morning is not known.

But commissioner-hugging is merely the latest manifestation of what has become a hugging epidemic. Hugging has become as indiscriminate — and frequently as sincere — as air kissing. Athletes hug their teammates and their opponents. Teenagers hug each other. Gang members hug each other. World leaders hug each other, although not all of them, of course. Queen Elizabeth II isn’t known for her huggability, and it’s hard to imagine Kim Jong Un hugging anything other than his nuclear missiles.

And it’s not limited to humans. People hug their dogs, cats and gerbils. Oct. 27 has been declared National Hug a Sheep Day.

Not that hugging is a bad thing. Psychiatrists say hugging is good for your emotional health. If there were more hugging, some say, the world might be a nicer place. Although, even with all this hugging, the world doesn’t seem much nicer today than it ever was.

But as a member of the handshake generation, I’m saving my hugs for relatives and very close friends. When my tennis buddies and I finish playing, we limit our displays of affection to sincere handshakes and knuckle knocks. We have considered leaping into the air and bumping hips the way many athletes today do, but decided against that when we realized it probably would result in sincerely broken bones.

So I hope Roger Goodell won’t be too disappointed if he announces my name in the college draft next year and all he gets from me is a firm handshake.

And if I happen to meet a sheep on Oct. 27, it’s going to have to settle for a sincere knuckle knock.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info
Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info

A new phishing scam is allowing hackers to gain access to unsuspecting Gmail users' accounts and target their login credentials, according to recent reports. Mark Maunder, CEO of security service Wordfence, described the scam in detail in a blog post, adding that it is also targeting other services beyond Gmail. Tech Times reported that the scam involves...
Tuna, star of the Amazing Acro-Cats, dies of cancer
Tuna, star of the Amazing Acro-Cats, dies of cancer

The cowbell won't sound quite the same now that Tuna, the star of the Amazing Acro-Cats cat circus, has died.Happy Cats Haven posted the news Friday on its Facebook page: "To all our fans of Tuna and The Rock Cats and the Amazing Acro-Cats, it's with many tears that we let you know that Samantha Martin's star kitty Tuna crossed the Rainbow Bridge...
7 small changes that will have a big impact
7 small changes that will have a big impact

It’s only a few weeks into 2017, but you’ve already come to an uncomfortable and familiar realization. New Year’s resolutions result in more guilt and depression than achievement. Forget about the big aspirations for a transformational do-over. They don’t work. How about making some small changes today that eventually can have...
Let’s have a cheer for the Amherst Hamsters
Let’s have a cheer for the Amherst Hamsters

Amherst, a tiny college of 1,795 really smart scholars in Massachusetts, made news last year when the board of trustees voted to drop Lord Jeffs as its athletic teams’ unofficial mascot. Lord Jeffery Amherst, historians discovered, was not necessarily a nice person. The 18th century British general reportedly once suggested giving smallpox-infested...
Stark numbers show heroin’s local grip
Stark numbers show heroin’s local grip

An average of seven Montgomery County residents a day were treated for drug overdoses by emergency departments in 2016, and one person alone made eight trips to the ER. Eleven people were treated twice in the same day for overdoses. The stark figures — amassed largely due to a devastating heroin epidemic — are found in a new Public Health...
More Stories