Let me begin by stating I am generally against the kinds of dances John Wall performed at the opening of the Wizards game last night. Great ... John Wall can rock the Dougie. I should add that he really did rock it. The "Dancing With the Stars" people have him squarely in their radar, and you would be hard-pressed to bet against him in any kind of dancing contest.
But too often I find these things overly self-indulgent and generally detracting from the game at hand. To be fair, The Wall did it at the beginning of the contest and then proceeded to dance all over the 76ers. If you can back up the The Dougie with a game-changing performance, I lose the will to deem it "self-indulgent."
As I watched The Dougie seemingly go on forever, I got to wondering what other dance/celebrations stand out to me as either better, equally memorable, or just noteworthy for the spectacle it was/is.
No. 1 The Fun Bunch
No way there is another dance celebration in this town over the last 30 years that can match the Fun Bunch's signature moves. It was simple, it was fast, and it included a handful of players at any given time. In case you are from another planet and have never heard of the Fun Bunch (Prada, being in your early 20s doesn't excuse you!), when the Redskins scored a touchdown in the early '80s, they would engage in a choreographed group celebration. It was almost always a group high five. Original members of the Fun Bunch included Charlie Brown, Alvin Garrett, Virgil Seay, Rick "Doc" Walker and Don Warren.
Art Monk was a member, but the story goes that the original idea behind the touchdown celebration was to do something as a tribute to Monk in the '82 playoffs because he was injured. The Fun Bunch had it all as far as I was concerned: it was about the team and not an individual, it bugged the crap out of the Cowboys and it was performed during a Super Bowl win. Since the Cowgirls are such huge babies, they actually tried to break up a Fun Bunch high five after a Redskins touchdown one game (see video), and wouldn't you know it -- the NFL eventually issued a league-wide ban on "excessive celebration." Thanks Dallas.
No. 2 Gus Frerotte Headbutt
Say what you will about the consequences of this infamous headbutt. To me, Gus sacrificed his skull and possibly his career for the greater good of one of the all-time most memorable touchdown celebrations in D.C. history.
First of all, I was at that game in 1997. It was a Sunday Night game against the Giants and it was a puntfest. It ended in a 7-7 tie that left me feeling empty and cold. You may also recall that Michael Westbrook got flagged 15 yards at the end of the game for removing his helmet, which took us out of field goal range and cost us a chance to win (thanks Mike).
But the Frerotte headbutt was by far the moment of the game. I was wearing my "In Gus We Trust" T-shirt, and cheering wildly as he ran the ball in from a yard out for a score. He got in a great spike and then went headfirst into the wall. You could tell right away (watching the video) that he knocked himself good with the headbutt. But he came back out for the next possession so fans in the stadium were shocked when he did not come back out of the locker room in the second half. Instead, he was taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a neck sprain. I have searched the records -- his cardiovascular endurance was never in question.
No. 3 DeShawn Stevenson's "You Can't See Me"/"I Can't Feel My Face" hand shimmy
For a while there in 2007, Stevenson was quite the offensive threat for the Wizards. After every shot he drained, especially three's, he would wave his hand in front of his face. Since the team was winning, and Stevenson was hitting shots, I remained entertained by the gesture. What was even more entertaining was the variety of explanations by the media for the hand shimmy. From WWE-wrestler John Cena, to Tony Yayo, to 50 Cent and even to 50's 10-year-old son, Marquise (25 Cent), lots of folks were credited with what DeShawn was doing out there. I think it is certain that DeShawn did not invent it, but for Wizards fans, the celebration is synonymous with the former D.C. guard.
No. 4 Alex Ovechkin Crashing the Boards
This one is simple ... Ovechkin scores, and then flings himself into the boards, Gus Frerotte style, except without leading with his head. It is a show of sheer exhilaration that pumps both his teammates and the fans up. I love it. It is very "hockey." Other guys do it around the league, but nobody does it more often!
No. 5 Gilbert Arenas' Swagger
Gilbert has been a tough subject to focus on recently. Between injuries and bad decisions, he has not made too many favorable headlines. But when he was packing the Verizon Center a few years ago, he hit some huge shots. While you might not call it a dance or celebration, Gilbert's swagger deserves its place here. With the clock winding down and the game on the line, Gilbert would get to his shot, put it in the air, and then turn around walk back up the court like an action movie hero--complete with the snarl and attitude. The only thing missing was a cigar. The ball would go through the hoop and the crowd would go crazy -- with Gilbert not even paying attention to the shot! Simply badass.