You’ve won the big game. You’ve beaten the odds.
And now you’re holding up the trophy you’ve waited your entire life for to the electric flash of a thousand cameras. Your teammates are all around you, hugging, sweating and crying tears of joy.
Holding that trophy in this moment, you can’t get enough of it. You want to bottle this joyous zephyr up and take it with you wherever you go.
Well, you can’t do that, but you can do the next best thing: Take this trophy that embodies everything you’ve worked for, and get absolutely crazy with it.
The following is a list of athletes, sports figures and random Joes who’ve had some strange encounters with these magical totems of victory.
They’re everything from obsessive and possessive to downright dumb and ridiculous. They are people doing weird stuff with trophies, and they’re in need of better supervision.
Billy Donovan and the University of Florida basketball team pulled a sly one on their fanbase by pretending to break the crystal championship trophy at the Gators' Midnight Madness rally in 2006.
It was a grade-A prank, and I’m sure only a few fans experienced serious health complications due to the initial shock.
"Betcha won’t kick this thing you worked your entire life for into the canal."
The 1905 Ottawa Senators, known as the “Silver Seven,” had won the Stanley Cup three years in a row and had grown familiar enough with Stanley to treat him a little rough.
It’s been said that after winning the Stanley Cup in 1905, the Silver Seven got righteously ripped at the bar in the Russell Hotel, and forward Harry Smith ended up dropkicking the trophy into the Rideau Canal on a bet.
It’s said that he returned to the canal the next morning with a raging hangover and found Stanley nestled up on a dry bed in the waterway.
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard could not bear to part with the European Cup trophy after the Reds won the Champions League final in 2005.
Gerrard admitted that he snuggled up with the large three-foot trophy under the cover in his bed and still had his gold medal on when he fell asleep.
“I did not want to let it out of my sight,” said Gerrard. “When someone took it away from me this morning, it felt as though somehow I had lost a part of me.”
It’s OK, Steven. I had a Bucky O’Hare action figure that I slept with when I was five.
Notice the “five” part of that sentence, though.
After beating the New Jersey Devils and bringing home the Stanley Cup for the city of Los Angeles, captain Dustin Brown literally brought home the trophy.
And his kids had a ball with it.
Jason and Mason Brown celebrated their father’s win by drinking what had to be the best chocolate milk ever from the championship trophy. Although it would appear they were more than content just blowing big, chocolatey bubbles.
No matter how many times I see them, I still can’t help but love the audacious celebratory pictures Mark Cuban took with the Larry O’Brien Trophy after his Mavericks won the NBA title in 2011.
Over the 24 hours after defeating the Heat, Cuban tweeted out a string of ridiculous images demonstrating his new inseparable relationship with Larry. The two shared seats on the airplane, slept together and visited the men’s room as a pair.
It wasn’t weird at all. Trust me.
Another classic cut from the Stanley Cup collection, this particular adventure involves an underwater voyage in the pool of Pittsburgh Penguins great Mario Lemieux in 2009.
Purportedly, this isn’t the first time Stanley has ended up in Lemieux’s pool.
It’s been said that the cup went missing for a period of time in the middle of the night at a 1991 party at Mario’s home, and it was found at the bottom of the pool some time early the next morning.
Poof! It was gone like some kind of false-door Houdini illusion.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell presented the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens with the Lombardi Trophy shortly after their 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
That much went as planned, but what happened to the trophy afterward is still anybody’s guess.
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh admitted that sometime in the night after the game, the Ravens “lost track” of the Lombardi Trophy for a number of hours.
Harbaugh picked up the Lombardi Trophy at a press conference on Monday after the game and said, “We hadn’t seen this since last night. We thought we’d lost it.”
It was reported that the trophy was supposed to be transported to a postgame celebration by security personnel after the game, but it failed to arrive as planned.
The trophy did turn up on the Ravens bus for a photo op the following day, and all was well.
But still, where did Vince go?
I like to picture Ray Lewis and Ed Reed sneaking off with the trophy and reenacting the scene from Ferris Bueller, where the valet guys take the Ferrari on a wild, high-flying joyride as the Star Wars theme song plays.
Except it would be Reed on the wheel, blasting down Louisiana dirt roads with Lewis thrusting the Lombardi Trophy in the air, yelling “GO! GO! GO!”
It’s not the actual Stanley Cup. But it’s still pretty strange.
In April 2012, the NHL and NBC decided to celebrate the kickoff of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the most plausible way imaginable: by fashioning a 21-foot replica of the trophy that whizzes potable water on thirsty tourists.
The giant replica was placed in the middle of Times Square and allowed every hockey fan to realize their dream of quaffing lukewarm city water out of a fake trophy.
The promotional shots of LeBron James nuzzling the Larry O’Brien Trophy that ran during the 2012 NBA Finals were concerning and strange.
You know, considering he hadn’t ever won the award at that point.
King James would go on to earn that passionate embrace, but at the time he looked like Jack desperately holding on to Rose floating on the door at the end of Titanic.
Real Madrid’s winning of the 2011 Copa del Rey was a definite cause for celebration for the club, but what ended up happening to the trophy certainly took some wind out of the festivities.
The Spanish soccer team returned home to Madrid and celebrated their win in grand fashion—hoisting the Copa del Rey trophy from the top level of an open-top bus as they made their way through the Spanish capital city.
Everything was going hunky-dory until Madrid defenseman Sergio Ramos dropped the trophy to the street, where it was run over by the bus’ front wheel in view of everyone.
And the Stanley Cup weirdness just keep on rolling. Hallelujah!
In 1996, the Stanley Cup went on a truly spiritual journey when it was used for the baptism of Alva Felicia Sundstrom, niece of Detroit Red Wings right-winger Tomas Holmstrom.
The baptismal dunking occurred in Northern Sweden in the summer of 2008. It was reportedly a private affair, involving only close family and the cup’s small security detail.
The Florida Gators football team lost a precious bit of hardware in 2006 when a visiting recruit accidentally knocked over the Waterford Crystal trophy.
The trophy was on a pedestal outside then-Florida head coach Urban Meyers office when high school tight end recruit Orson Charles knocked it over while attempting to photograph Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy.
And here’s funny bit of trivia: Charles’ high school football coach reportedly described him to UF scouts as a “bull in a china shop” before the incident.
After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1960 Olympics, Muhammad Ali (then known by his birth name Cassius Clay) returned to his hometown of Louisville, Ky., to a rather muted reception for an American gold medalist.
Racism was still a divisive issue in Kentucky during the early '60s, and after townspeople and local media failed to acknowledge his accomplishments or hold events in his honor, Ali said he threw his gold medal into the Ohio River in a fit of disgust.
Ali would later say that he may have just misplaced the medal, and he received a replacement at the 1996 Olympic Games. It remains anyone’s guess as to where the trinket is now.
You know what that means, boys. Put on your galoshes—we’ve got us some river to dredge.
The University of Alabama football team’s treasured Waterford Crystal trophy was set out on display before their annual 2012 spring game when an unfortunate incident occurred.
It was reported that the father of one of the players tripped over a rug set under the trophy table and knocked into the table, sending the crystal trophy (estimated value $30,000) crashing to the ground.
Alabama eventually had the trophy replaced, but jeez, dad. Keep your head on a swivel.
This wasn’t a person doing something “weird” to a trophy. It was a trophy doing something weird to a person.
After winning the Canadian Hockey League championship in 2008, Spokane Chiefs captain Chris Bruton goes to hand off the bulky Memorial Cup trophy to his teammates, and the award just snaps in half.
No fumbling. No dropping.
Making the best of a bad situation, the team just scooped up the two pieces of the award and began handing them around.
The unfortunate incident could’ve been a blessing in disguise for the Chiefs, however. After the base broke away, I guarantee the cup part of the trophy became a lot easier to drink beer out of.