Laugh It Up: Funny Moments in Sport
No doubt about it, sports are there to entertain us. Be it from a long home run, a clutch three, or an amazing touchdown—we are entertained.
Sometimes however, the entertainment is of a different a variety—a more unintentional variety. A laugh at someone's embarrassing moment. A giggle over someone's misfortune.
A sports satire that leaves our sides aching. Sports aren't only entertainment by virtue of strategy, athleticism, and strength.
Sometimes it's just downright funny.
What follows is a list of funny moments. It is by no means all inclusive and they might not be the funniest ever, but to me at least they are some of the most memorable.
Using His Head
Somewhere in between being the first 40/40 player and being Via Sikahema's punching bag, Jose Canseco was a right fielder for the Texas Rangers.
In a memorable (for us anyways) game against the Cleveland Indians in 1993 Canseco allows a deep drive by Carlos Martinez to bounce off of his head and over the fence for a home run.
The Indians would win the game by one run.
And a Steal By Bird
No, not Larry.
In 1998, for a moment at least, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass was memorable for something other than being one of the most recognizable holes in the world.
Steve Lowery hit a shot that came to a stop on the green—momentarily. A bird decided it needs the ball more than any golfer and after nudging it around tried to take it home. Apparently the payload proved too heavy and the gull dropped the Lowery's ball into the water.
Fortunately, PGA rules allowed a drop where the ball had been. No penalty, just a good laugh.
Just a Smooch
Dec 20, 2003. Broadway Joe was being interviewed by Suzy Kolber. We all remember.
"I wanna kiss you. I couldn't care about the team struggling."
Not struggling as bad as an obviously intoxicated Namath was with his words.
And They're Off
2007 NBA All Star Game. Charles Barkley in a foot race against Dick Bavette to raise money for charity. Three and a half lengths of the basketball court.
The Round Mound of Rebound opened a wide lead against the older—yet more athletic—referee and finished the race running backwards... Only to fall on his behind over the finish line as Bavetta made a dive for victory.
I'm not sure which was greater: the humor of the race or the awkwardness of their hug and kiss afterwards. Either way, it sure was funny.
If you could consider and hour and a half, give or take, to be a single moment then Caddyshack in its entirety would be here. Since that's a stretch...
One of the funniest moments of a funny sports movie is the Cinderella Story—caddie Carl Spackler trying to win the Masters.
"He's got about 350 yards left, he's gonna hit about a five iron.... He's got about 195 yards left, he's got about a—it looks like he's got about an eight iron... It's in the hole!"
What makes the part of the sequence funny is the hidden humor, the disparity between yardage and club selection. At least for me.
1997 All Star Game. A wild pitch from Randy johnson sails over Larry Walker's head. In a self-preservation move, left handed hitter larry Walker steps back, turns his batting helmet around, and steps back into the hitter's box—batting right-handed.
Bull Durham, the baseball version of Caddyshack—and again since the whole movie shouldn't be considered as a moment then the most memorable has to be the meeting on the mound during a game.
In a scene that makes you wonder "what really goes on?" the discussion centers around wedding gifts, stuck eyes, and a need to sacrifice a live rooster. The assistant coach, Larry Hockett, ends the meeting with:
"Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em."
Another Music Video
In 1986, obviously inspired by the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Raiders came out with a music video—"Silver and Black Attack." It features highlights, a guitar riff, and some of the worst rapping of all time.
Howie Long gave no insight that he'd ever be good behind a microphone but Matt Millen did show himself to be a better singer than he ever would be a general manager.
It might not have been so funny then, but that's the beauty of video—it will always be there for a laugh later.
Wrong Way Rumble
1964, Minnesota Vikings against the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Marshall was involved in a play that no list of funny, memorable, or embarrassing would ever be complete without.
Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards the wrong way. Instead of the touchdown he thought he was scoring, his end zone heave of the ball resulted in a safety and two points for the 49ers. The Frisco sideline had to be laughing as a 49er player congratulated Marshall.
Jim Marshall and the Vikings would get the last laugh however, winning the game 27-22.
Since it is my list, you will have to indulge me one personal story.
Apr. 27, 1995. First round of the NBA playoffs, Los Angeles Lakers at the Seattle Supersonics.
There had been a buzz around the arena that Magic Johnson was in attendance. During halftime I wandered the arena trying to catch a glimpse of my favorite player ever. I saw a person point in the stands and as I walked, I turned to see what caught his attention.
A few rows up sat a man who indeed had a striking resemblance to the former point guard, but lacked his height by nearly a foot. I thought to myself "That's not Magic Johnson."
Turning my head in the way I was walking my next thought was "THAT is Magic Johnson!" Apparently he had also been distracted while walking, and the result was the two of us nearly walking right into each other.
Luckily for me, he immediately turned and went to his seat. Apparently, my 5'11" frame was under his line of sight, and he never saw the wide eyed and opened mouth Lakers fan standing right in front of him—my hand was raised halfway up to a shaking position but didn't make it all of the way up as I was too awestruck to even say a word.