It's good to see that NC State is spending time teaching its players proper comportment at the dining table, but the idea of demonstrating rules of etiquette to athletes has been around for nearly a century. In fact, the first such guide was published in 1933: Etiquette on the Sideline, in Timeouts, and at Bowls, by Emiliy Post Route. Let's review some of its more memorable pieces of advice.
WHEN A GENTLEMAN TAKES OFF HIS HAT
A gentleman takes off his hat and holds it in his hand when a lady enters the elevator in which he is a passenger, but he puts it on again in the corridor. A gentleman takes off his hat and throws it into the ground when his quarterback fails to snap the ball in time and is forced to call for a timeout, but he must take care to remove any headphones or other wiring which would interfere with a smooth, graceful flinging of the hat. If the gentleman is not wearing a hat when this time-foible occurs, he may enter a squatting position and run one hand through his hair exasperatedly.
PHRASES AVOIDED IN GOOD SOCIETY
To be able to separate best English from merely good English needs a long process of special education, but to recognize bad English one need merely skim through a page of a book, and if a single expression in the left-hand column following can be found (unless purposely quoted in illustration of vulgarity) it is quite certain that the author neither writes best English nor belongs to Best Society.
HIS PARENTS CALL ON HERS (NON-CONFERENCE ENGAGEMENT)
As soon as the young school's athletic director accepts the engagement, etiquette demands that the athletic director of the home team-elect call at once (within twenty-four hours) upon the campus of the opponent-to-be. An offer of a second game, in which the original visiting team plays host, may be extended and agreed upon; this is known as the maison-et-maison. This formality, however, may be avoided by either payment of the Cupcake's Dowry to the visiting team, or by arranging for the contest to take place on neutral territory owned by the town's local NFL baron. In the event the engagement is broken before any game takes place, both athletic directors should deny that talks of the match were ever that serious.
A generation or two ago the regulations for mourning were definitely prescribed, definite periods according to the precise degree of relationship of the mourner. One's real feelings, whether of grief or comparative indifference, had nothing to do with the outward manifestation one was obliged, in decency, to show. The tendency to-day is toward sincerity, and many fans may go so far as to praise their team's quick demise in public, as this means the possibility of refreshing change in the office of head coach. One must always remember that, as in life, today's champion may quickly become tomorrow's fetid corpse. Requiescat in pace, Mr. Chizik.