Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Top Fictional Sporting Events You Wanted to See PART 2: Honorable Mentions

To play catch up - read part 1 here.

Ok, it's time to step up to the big leagues. This list of Honorable Mentions is made up of a lot of specific moments that make the events that much more special. You would brag about being at these, and people would hold you in a higher regard. Kind of like when someone tells you they were at Woodstock. Or on the Titanic. Not that I hang around with a lot of old people. You get my point.

Let's hit the list!

10. The Little 500 race in Breaking Away

Based on an actual bike race held annually on the University of Indiana's campus, the climactic race actually makes cycling exciting. The four Cutters, wanting to prove their worth to the snooty campus trust fund babies, enter the race and of course are not taken seriously...until everyone realizes Dave (their ringer) is pretty much a world class level cyclist (this is set up when he keeps pace with the Italian team earlier in the movie). In fact, it's the Cutters' plan to simply let Dave singlehandedly win the race. He jumps out to an absurd lead, only to then suffer a leg injury, forcing him out of the race. The Cutters, their plan in tatters, figure the race is over until Moocher valiantly grabs the bike and starts racing. Though their lead is eliminated, the act keeps them in the race, long enough for Dave to get healthy enough to tape himself to the bike and lead the team to victory.

I really wish this race was on Youtube, because my description doesn't do it justice. Trust me when I say this: If you haven't seen Breaking Away, you should rent it.

Going for it:
It has the classic misfits vs. rich kids dynamic. Also has the drama of a seemingly insurmountable lead and someone coming back from an injury to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.

Going against it:
At the end of the day, it's guys riding around a track for a long time. And while the race has a little bit of heat, it's very regional.

9. Pool match between Fast Eddie Felson and Vincent Lauria at the end of Color of Money

The first (and only?) event that we don't ever get to see. But the drama behind it took two movies to create, so there's a lot more riding on it than bragging rights. If you remember, Fast Eddie (Paul Newman) goes up against Vincent (Tom Cruise) in the tournament and beats him. But then later on, Vincent reveals it was a hustle. Disgraced, Eddie forfeits, gives back the money and goes to find Vincent to have a true mano-a-mano (I never understood why people said "mano y mano;" in Spanish that means "hand and hand") match to reclaim his status as the true Hustler.

Going for it:
Ridiculous amount of emotional baggage on the line. Possibly 2 of the best pool players battling it out for the right to say they're #1. Being able to say you were the one person there to witness it
Going against it:
There's no crowd drama. People might just not believe you were there or that it even took place.

8. Better Off Dead Ski Race

A ski race held on a slope that eats veteran skiers for breakfast...the K-12. What better place to have the nerd take on the ski captain of the high school (obviously they live near the mountains) to win the affection of his former girlfriend? Savage Steve Holland does it again!

Going for it:
The degree of difficulty is off the charts to ski the K-12. And to witness someone do it on one ski when so many people before him have failed on two, well that's chill inducing. Plus, the fantastic snub Lane Myers gives his ex to take the French chick to Dodger stadium and go make out (how did he get access? And why would the grounds crew let him drive onto the field?) is historic.

Going against it:
At the end of the day, it's two morons skiing against one another. There's absolutely no drama for anyone other than people directly related to the people involved.

7. The football game from the Longest Yard
(the '74 version of course)

Star football played lands in jail, so it's only a matter of time before a game between the guards (who fashion themselves quite the gamers) and inmates takes place. That it somehow becomes competitive and goes down to the final play is gravy.

Going for it:
A competitive game with the lead bouncing back and forth between the teams, it also has a lot of intrigue for the fan. Crews coming out of the game, the violence on the field (usurping any kind of normal football game 10 fold), a climactic come from behind win, and a potential assassination narrowly avoided at the end. That's a lot of drama. And there's no real rivalry that can come close to the hatred between these two teams.

Going against it:
There's really nothing on the line other than pride. In fact, Crewes pretty much screws himself. And while there's drama based on the hatred between the two sides playing, you have to think, without the 90 minute back story, if you simply just got tickets to watch this game with no context, you'd most likely be rooting for the guards.

6. Any competition in any of the Air Bud movies

Sure to spur controversy for its conclusion, take a step back and think about it for a moment. You're telling me you wouldn't pay to watch an actual sporting competition with a dog as one of the players? Think about the controversy, the sheer audacity of this happening. And you wouldn't want to witness it? And no, I've never seen an Air Bud movie. But here's the roster:

Air Bud (Basketball)
Air Bud: Golden Retriever (Football)
Air Bud: World Pup (Soccer)
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (Baseball)
Air Bud: Spikes Back (Beach volleyball)

Yes, all these are sequels and follow the continuity of the first movie. Of course, by Air Bud: Spikes Back, the dog is also solving crimes. So, you can't tell me you wouldn't be jazzed going to your high school football game and cheering for a dog!

Going for it:
You will be witnessing a historic event. Even if it's high school sports - it will receive national attention.

Going against it:
The team with the dog has an unbelievable advantage. After awhile, you have to imagine the crowd would start to hedge and feel sympathetic to the dogless team. Especially in football. Wouldn't you just throw deep every play?

5. The final match in Side Out

Even before beach volleyball was popular this would have been a match to witness. A washed-up former pro and a guy who never played volleyball prior coming to California team up to enter a pro tournament. Along the way they bang chicks and most likely fall in love with one another. That's not really important. What is important are the dynamics on display here. Can you imagine the Behind the Lines stories this match would create?

Going for it:
An unbelievable going-up-against-the-odds story of two guys who have no business being in the finals. You're also on the beach and will probably have a great chance to bump into Courtney Thorne Smith. Not to mention seeing a shirtless C. Thomas Howell.

Going against it:
The hoopla surrounding this match back in the early 90s isn't all that much. This movie happened about 15 years too early.

4. The archery match from The Adventures in Robin Hood

It's all here. No TV timeouts or lame promotions. Good vs. evil. Trash talking. Gambling. Hot chicks. Fights. Hidden identities. It's a soap opera condensed into 5 minutes!

Going for it:
Though I've since learned that splitting the arrow isn't the hardest thing in the world to do, it's still something probably rare enough to want to witness. Plus, after the shot, you get to see a good old fashioned donnybrook with the guards ordered to arrest Robin Hood. Besides, you can't put a price on watching Lockesly chide his contestant and the officials into moving the targets back.

Going against it:
It is archery, so leading up to the final shot would probably be pretty boring. I also didn't see any mutton vendors working the crowd. And you'd have to be careful you didn't get accused of being a "merry man" and arrested along with him.

3. Roy Hobb's first professional baseball game appearance

It's not like you wouldn't have been able to get a ticket. The stands were empty. The game was boring. Aside from the New York Knights being able to keep it close for Hobbs to pinch hit and win the game, I can't imagine there would have been much excitement. But that one pinch hit would have certainly made it all worth it.

Going for it:
He knocked the stuffing out of the ball. It made all the major headlines and was the talk of the town. You would have probably been able to get some serious tail if you had a ticket stub to the game. It would have definitely received the Woodstock mystique...thousands of people saying they were there when there couldn't have been more than a couple hundred. It was also the beginning of the Roy Hobbs era - short but possibly historic!

Going against:
You had to sit in poor conditions for 90 minutes before getting to see anything exciting. And old stadium seats left a lot to be desired.

2. The Chinese Downhill ski race that ends Hotdog: The Movie

The second (and last) ski race to make the list, the Chinese Downhill rates higher because of everything at stake. A trophy and $2300. Though, with some simple math it doesn't add up, because everyone was told to put in $40 to compete. That's 57.5 people. I assume a couple people didn't have change or something.

Going for it:
A bunch of people racing down a mountain trying to be the first one to cross the finish line, anything goes - including a guy that has rockets attached to his helmet. And you're telling me you'd pass on this?

Going against it:
Because it's a ski race, you're probably going to miss 90% of the action no matter where you choose to set up. I guess you could ski along with it, but that probably means you're participating. So then you'd have to stake $40 bucks. And let's face it. You're not winning with the talent that is on that slope. Plus, I'm not thrilled the one guy has a Mets hat on. But that's personal preference.

1. The final round of the U.S. Open in Tin Cup

Don't get me wrong. I wanted to strangle Roy McAvoy, and his continued insistence to drop at the spot and go for it seems highly unbelievable to me, still...are you telling me you wouldn't want to be part of that gallery and watch a professional golfer self destruct like that, only to win the crowd over all in a span of about 90 seconds?

Going for it:
Highest of hig drama with every swing of the club. Thousand of people's emotions riding a roller coaster. And A Waffle House not far from the course.

Going against it:
He kills any hope he has of winning right there - so the rest of the round is going to be really anti-climactic.

Next up: The Top 10

1 comment:

mndleftbod said...

I want to see Dean Youngblood beat the shit out of racki...