Column: Chest thump as common as crossover dribble |

Column: Chest thump as common as crossover dribble

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Index fingers raised to the heavens, high-fives, low-fives, fist bumps, chest bumps and fist pumps:

Athletes rarely use words to celebrate a personal or team achievement, opting for body language. They select many harmless ways to express themselves, but there is one celebration that sports could do without ” the chest pound.

Turn on a college basketball game and you are bound to see one in a matter of minutes. Players pound their chests after beating the shot clock with a long three-pointer, they thump their hearts after a putback or a weak dunk or breakaway layup.

Heck, I even saw a player pound his chest after making a free throw Saturday night during the Pacific-Cal State Northridge game.

If this me-first mentality doesn’t soon stop, we’ll see people thumping their chests when they beat someone to the last parking spot in front of Raley’s. Or the next time a skier passes you going down Gunbarrel, don’t be surprised to see the person waiting at the bottom of the hill, pounding their chest as if an Olympic medal were at stake. At least they will have a few layers of clothing between their fist and chest.

It might take an accident to curb this behavior.

Don’t these basketball players know that they could stop their hearts if they pound their chests hard enough and in the wrong place?

Ties to Nacogdoches

As we wait for the real NCAA basketball tournament games to begin on Thursday, many subplots are developing.

Stephen F. Austin of Nacogdoches, Texas, has qualified for the men’s tournament for the first time in the 86-year existence of the program.

You might ask why should there be an interest in a tiny school more than a thousand miles away, that likely won’t last past the first round of the tournament?

Former South Tahoe High coach Derek Allister used to coach Stephen F. Austin. Allister had his chance to take the Lumberjacks to the NCAAs before coming to the Vikings for the 2000-01 season.

Allister found refuge from the high pressure of college coaching and more family time when he came to South Lake Tahoe.

The 14th-seeded Lumberjacks (24-7) will meet third-seeded Syracuse on Friday morning in a South regional game.

” Tribune sports editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or

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