Eli5: When a person misses a good chance in sport, it’s common to see them (and the crowd/viewers) grip the top of their head with both hands. Is there a reason for that?
This reminds me of the arms outstretched above the head victory pose. Like when a runner crosses the finish line first, arms go up yay!. Or an awesome half court buzzer shot swishhhh BOOYAH. I remember hearing about a study that blind kids did this action as well. They never saw it done, they just did it.
I think it’s more of Going into a defensive stance or shame. By covering your head and face with both hands, you’re trying to hide your shame and guilt from the rest who are now judging you for missing a chance to win. Same as when someone scores a winning goal or point or something successful, they spread their arms outward and expose their entire body as a sign of pride and strength. You want everyone to notice all of you since they’re looking at you in a positive way.
This motion is simply a sub-conscious gesture of shock/ disappointment. Interactions and the repetition of this motion after such a moment over the years has made it sub-conscious for a larger audience.