The High Five: An Unexpected Origin Story with a Touch of Pride

Pujit Siddhant

Jun 12 2024

<div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>The high five is one gesture that is as ingrained in our social interactions as laughter or a handshake. But its origin story is far more unexpected than you might think. It involves baseball, a history-making home run, and an openly gay athlete named Glenn Burke.</p><p>The high five's birth can be traced back to a seemingly ordinary 1977 Dodgers game. Dusty Baker crushes a homer, and his teammate Glenn Burke, overcome with excitement, raises his hand high for a... well, nobody's quite sure what. Baker, caught off guard, meets Burke's hand in a midair collision – the first documented high five.</p><p>This seemingly trivial act exploded. Media picked it up, fans cheered, and the high five became a symbol of Dodger pride. But Burke's story takes a sharp turn. Burke, in a professional sports landscape where open displays of homosexuality were rare, was one of the first openly gay athletes.&nbsp; While his talent was undeniable, his sexuality undoubtedly played a role in his trade away from the Dodgers shortly after the now-iconic high five.&nbsp; Undeterred, Burke found solace and acceptance in the vibrant gay community of San Francisco's Castro district.&nbsp; Here, the high five transcended its celebratory roots.&nbsp; It became a "defiant symbol of gay pride," a way for members of a marginalized community to connect and celebrate each other in a world that often excluded them.</p><p>Burke's professional baseball career, unfortunately, was cut short.&nbsp; However, his legacy as the high five's unlikely champion lives on in every exuberant hand connection we share today.&nbsp; The high five serves as a reminder that even the most casual gestures can carry powerful messages of inclusion and defiance.&nbsp;</p><p>Every high five today echoes a moment of pure joy, but also a quieter act of defiance and a remainder also that most unexpected heroes come from the margins.</p><span></div>

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