The history of the high five

Teens enjoying AMF party package

We've all done it before. After hitting a perfect strike, it’s almost instinct to turn to your team bowling mates and share a good high five!

The high five has been around for as long as anyone can remember. An ingrained part of our social culture, it's become almost as natural as the handshake.

Have you ever stopped to wonder where exactly it came from? Who were the first two people who came up with the idea of slapping each other’s hands as a means of celebration?

You probably won’t be surprised that the high five most likely has its roots in the world of sport.

"Hi, Five"

Although there are many theories floating about regarding the exact origins of the high five, one popular story is that the first recorded high fives took place between two baseball players a few decades ago.

Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker were two of the star names in LA Dodgers side of the 70s, and according to eyewitnesses, they spontaneously brought the now famous high five to life.

The two would slap each other’s hands as they arrived back at the plate following a home run, although no one - most likely themselves included - knew exactly why.

It caught on, however, and became a regular habit between the two before spreading into popular use around the world.

Others claim that the high five actually came from a college basketball player, Lamont Sleets, during his childhood.

Sleets’s father was a member of the Fifth Infantry of the US Army, and would often invite his colleagues – known fondly as The Fives – to his house.

The young Sleets would be incapable of remembering all their names and would instead greet them with a “Hi, Five” with an outstretched palm.

We may never know where the high five truly came from, but there’s no denying its unique place in modern culture.

Eager to get high fiving at your next bowling match? Head down to your local AMF for your next work party!