I was going to do a bunch of research about high fives and if there was any psychological research done on team-bonding, etc. etc. But hey! It’s already been done for me.
That may sound like a lot of celebration for a simple hand gesture, but the truth is, the act of reaching your arm up over your head and slapping the elevated palm and five fingers of another person has revolutionized the way Americans (and many all over world) cheer for everything from personal achievements to miraculous game-winning plays in the sports world. Psychological studies on touch and human contact have found that gestures like the high five enhance bonding among sports teammates, which in turn has a winning effect on the whole team. Put ‘er there! [Source]
The most physically demonstrative ball players turned out to be the best performers, the researchers discovered. And the effect wasn’t only at the level of individual players. A team’s late-season success could be clearly predicted by the amount and type of early-season physical contact within the group. Even after controlling for other factors, such as a player’s status, the pre-season expectations of a team, or a team’s margin of victory, more early-season signs of physical bonding between players spelled greater team performance later on. [Source]
Please NHL, do not ban the art of the high five. Encourage it.
Further, think of the message it would send to the kids that look up to these NHL players as role models. Coming from the personal level, I played volleyball from the time I was in the 4th grade until I graduated high school. Celebrating something good did nothing except promote confidence to do it again.
So say in the future a kid hears that their favorite NHL player doesn’t like to celebrate with his team. That they’re suppose to be “professional” about it. That kid takes his cues from his role models and stops celebrating with his team… you see where I’m going with this right?
So before you go telling people to act like “they’ve been there before”, rethink yourself. And then STFU.