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Loyola of Chicago plays its basketball games in ancient Alumni Gymnasium, which seats fewer than 3,000 people. Coach George Ireland, who guided Loyola to the NCAA championship in 1963, looked enviously at the glistening new sports building that Marshall University has on its campus at Huntington, W. Va. "I sent my president a picture of their new gym," Ireland says, "and I wrote on it, 'Isn't money something?"
"My president wrote back, "Money is the root of all evil.' "
One of the pleasanter traditions in sport—the postgame handshake at center ice between the players of rival hockey teams—has been halted by high school hockey leagues in Rhode Island. The supposedly sportsmanlike gesture was leading to nasty words and occasional fights. The Rev. Robert C. Newbold, executive secretary of the Rhode Island Principals' Committee on Athletics, said, "Officials strongly recommended dropping it. We agreed. It was too artificial to have real meaning, and it presented a constant threat of a serious explosion. Hockey has so much contact that the atmosphere can be incendiary right after a game."
Tom Eccleston, president of the Rhode Island Hockey Coaches' Association, said, "I'm not opposed to handshaking if it's a genuine and spontaneous thing between opponents who have real admiration for each other. But the ritual we've had is phony, and it is so dangerous that I won't let my players do it if I believe the other team is not under control."
One of the few coaches who wanted the tradition continued is Lou Cimini of LaSalle High School in Providence, whose son was punched during a handshaking ritual a few years ago.
"I was very upset when that happened," Cimini said, "but why condemn something basically good because of one bad incident? For a team to behave properly during handshaking is simply a demonstration of discipline, which we coaches should teach."
Perhaps the trouble is caused by the use of the ceremony after all games. In the National Hockey League the tradition is followed only after the last game of each Stanley Cup playoff series. Going through the handshake after every game is parallel to the unfortunate practice of playing the national anthem before every sporting event. Something that should have special significance becomes meaningless ritual.
FOGGY BOTTOM, INDEED