Last night, we got to witness one of my favorite traditions. No, not the deserved booing of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (who I continue to maintain actually hates hockey and is doing everything in his power to destroy the league) and not the carrying around of the Stanley Cup like it was the Holy Grail (it's actually much more important than the Grail). I'm talking about the handshake line that concludes the battle between the two teams.
I love how men--who until just a few seconds ago were doing everything in their power to beat the hell out of their opponents--put off their celebration (or their weeping) to take time to show respect to their rivals. And if you watch closely, you see this isn't the "good game, good game, good game" sham of a handshake line that we see in youth sports nowadays. There is actual emotion involved, with hugs and compliments and heartfelt condolances whispered in ears.
The great thing is that "The Line" isn't required. The NHL doesn't have a rule stating the two teams must congratulate each other at the end of a series. Players could just skate off the ice to the locker rooms if they wanted--but that would be treated as such an affront to the honor of the game and to your fellow competitors that such an action would be soundly derided by everyone.
I'll be thinking about "The Line" as I hear about the "Brat Summit" in Madison today. While it sounds like a "good start" to mending fences--brining everyone together in a less-stressful setting to "talk about our differences"--you know it's going to end up like a middle school dance, with all the Republicans on one side of the yard and all the Democrats on the other side and nobody wanting to look like a "loser" by going over to talk to the "enemy". Plus, we have members of both parties already boycotting the event because they don't like what somebody else on the other side said.
So, before anyone goes through the food line or heads over to the bar, Governor Walker should line them up by party and make everyone shake hands. Maybe they should be made to say something nice to each other as well--or at least show some respect for those on the "other side". It sure beats threatening to kill each other.