How many pumps is too many? A modest suggestion for thrusting celebrations

If there is any hill I’m willing to die on it’s that the only acceptable place to be asked “how many pumps?” is at Starbucks. If someone is asking about the inventory of your sneaker collection, you’ve bought too many Reeboks — and if the phrase is brought up in the bedroom you’re dealing with a stingy lover, and they should be avoided.

Life has a weird way of throwing you a curveball though, and now I’m left pondering how we approach the “how many pumps?” question in football. It’s been rolling around in my head since Week 3, when Jamaal Williams was justifiably busted for a four pumper, because that is too many pumps for a celebration under the scope of the current NFL’s acceptance of thrusting.

This is really important, because it seems to solidify that the Hingle McCringleberry rule is in effect when it comes to NFL officials. In 2020 Aaron Rodgers dropped a two-pump celebration against the Buccaneers, and there was no flag. In 2022 four pumps is a penalty. Like I said, I understand the Williams pump penalty because he jumped straight to four pumps. It’s not like I’m clutching pearls over pump count, but when you jump straight over the established McCringleberry three pump penalty and go to four, you’re just a horny Icarus thrusting your way towards the sun.

Where this gets exceptionally weird is that nobody is following a pump count outside of the NFL. Last year Jimmy Butler pumped four times, and nobody batted an eye in the NBA.

Then this past week Florida offensive lineman Richard Gouraige decided there was ZERO rules in college ball when it comes to pump count, dropping five like an oversized hamster without there being a flag either.

So we either need to accept that nobody cares about pumping except the NFL, or that other leagues have unwritten pump count rules which allow pumping without penalty. Neither is a great option.

I believe this is a chance to extend an olive branch across all athletics, and truly codify pump rules in sports — and I believe I’m the man to write this rule. I’m up to this job for two main reasons:

  1. I both enjoy pumping, but also have a limit on how much I’m willing to tolerate
  2. Nobody else is going to waste their time codifying pump rules

There’s methodology behind this idea I’d like to employ, which is that the McCringleberry rule is too harsh. Two free pumps with the third being a flag too closely aligns sports with a comedy sketch, and the entire idea of Key and Peele was to mock how pedantic referees can be. So, we need to have fun with this and exceed the McCringleberry pump count.

That said, I also don’t want to see someone thrusting forever. If we hit double-digit pumping you’ve pulled this out of the realm of celebration and turned it into personal time. After all, I’m here to watch football — not your crotch, as beautiful as it may be.

It’s for this reason I think we need both a pump counter AND a pump timer. The two should work in concert to provide players with fair, even-handed, and sensible restrictions on pumping which allows the game to keep moving, while also allowing players to get a little horny on main, should they choose to. We can adapt the wording of this to every sport, but as it pertains to football here’s my take on what the pump rule should be.

“An offensive or defensive player, following a touchdown may choose to celebrate by “pumping” which is defined as “the act of putting one’s hands behind their head, and thrusting their pelvis in an outward, or upward angled direction.” The celebrating player may pump up to seven (7) times, not exceeding a total pump duration of two (2) seconds, as measured by an official. Any player who exceeds either the pump number, or pump duration will be penalized for “excessive celebration,” which will be assessed on the following kickoff.”

This gives a lot of latitude for pumping personality. If you want to go wild, then by all means, pump every 0.28571429 seconds and use the full duration and all seven pumps. Hell, if you think you can fit seven pumps in a second, I’d like to see that — even if it might come across like you’re being electrocuted. In equal measure, if you want to drop a half second sultry pump four times, I’m here for that too.

Right now we have free-for-all pump anarchy, and I’m tired of it. NFL, NCAA, NBA and beyond — I implore you to standardize pumping penalties to the seven pump, two second standard I’ve outlined here. It will bring us together, help us heal as a nation, and ensure that no matter who we root for, or which sport we enjoy, we all need a good pump now and then.

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