A Little Happier: It Makes Me Happy to Watch This Football Player’s Touchdown Celebration

I know absolutely nothing about football, but even though I know nothing about the game, I was delighted by a video that my sister Elizabeth sent me, of Jaylen Waddle, a football wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins.

First, I’ll explain that in football, there’s a tradition of the “touchdown celebration” which is a some kind of action or dance that a player does after making a touchdown. But players can’t push celebration too far, because “excessive celebration” and “taunting” are both offenses in the NFL because they can delay the game, warp the goalposts out of place, and so on.

Given those restrictions, the player Jaylen Waddle has found a great way to put his own stamp on the touchdown celebration.

With Jaylen Waddle, it’s striking that his last name is “Waddle,” because while the word “waddle” conjures up associations of clumsy movements and swaying short steps, he, of course, is a professional athlete with superb physical skill. 

In the video my sister sent, we see Jaylen Waddle make a touchdown. To celebrate, he puts his arms down straight at his sides, sticks his hands out flat, and rocks side to side as he takes short steps forward. It’s such a great evocation of a duck or penguin waddling! And then a teammate runs up to him in great excitement, and he waddles, too! It’s so funny and even sweet to see these big athletes doing this funny little motion. In another video, we see fans doing it too.

It makes me happy to see these professional athletes doing this waddle. Jaylen Waddle found a way to celebrate his achievement in a way that’s funny, humble, simple, and a clever play on his distinctive name, and allows others to join in. 




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