MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE FOOTBALL players line up for the traditional handshake at the end of a recent game with Amherst College, signifying respect for one another’s mutual efforts.
Photo courtesy of Middlebury College
“Shake hands and come out fighting.”
When I was a kid watching the Friday Night Fights with my dad (brought to you by Gillette — “to look sharp and to feel sharp too ...”), that’s what the referee instructed in the ring center before the boxing match began.
The combatants touched gloves and commenced to beat each other up, respectfully: after all, they had shaken hands, more or less.
Whenever there was contretemps in the school yard or playing field when I was growing up, the adult who broke up the fight commanded, “OK, shake hands now.” That meant it was over and there would be no further...