Often times it's the best stories that don't demand suspension of belief; whether they're completely true or born from a kernel of it and, therefore, not entirely out of the realm of possibilities.
They say the truth is stranger than fiction and "they" are usually right. That's how they became "they" in the first place—by building a solid consensus.
Hilarious, horrifying, uplifting or otherwise—these days true 'WTF" stories in sports seem to bubble up in print, online and across the social media stratosphere by the second. And for those insane stories of times past, the same media array acts as an echo chamber.
These are 15 WTF sports stories that are actually true.
On Sunday, a game between the Angels and Mariners was delayed twice by swarming bees—a situation that was initially dealt with by two members of the grounds crew wielding a Gatorade bucket, cardboard and broom.
As one would expect, those items did little to dissuade the bees—which returned a short time later. Although, even getting the bees to disperse for a short period of time using those three items, none of which are known to control the insect population, is kind of impressive.
The second time around, the crew deployed a "smoke deterrent" and the game resumed shortly thereafter. Wonder why they didn't try the cardboard and broom again...
When it comes to civil lawsuits, my first instinct is to get all preachy about the overly litigious nature of society. That being said, Long Island native Edward Lunger obviously has a complaint that goes well beyond emotional pain and suffering. That hand of his is seriously jacked.
In August 2013 Lunger filed suit against a Cancun golf resort, stemming from injuries sustained when he was attacked by a crocodile on the course a while back. According to him, it was completely unprovoked and alleges the resort introduced the reptiles as a "marketing tourist attraction."
Lunger lost 1.5 fingers in the attack and may very well have lost the one doctors at a private hospital reattached if he wasn't able to pay the nearly $20,000 bill up front. Wow...so that's one way to weed out the people that can't pay.
Earlier this year, a youth hockey tournament in Novokuznetsk, Russia devolved into violent mayhem, as boys still young enough to spend an hour at Chuck E. Cheese without getting a raging headache, engaged in an outright bench-clearing brawl.
The melee goes on unabated for nearly two minutes, before an actual adult decided to—you know—step in and stop children from punching each other in the face. Though, I think most people would be pretty reluctant to step into a Russian kid-riot on ice.
So much for cleaning up the sport from the ground up.
During the 2008 college football season, two parachutists were set to make a jump and land in the the North Carolina Tar Heels' Kenan Memorial Stadium, when heavy cloud cover delayed their start. When the clouds broke and the duo had sight of a stadium, they went ahead with their planned jump—landing without a hitch.
The only problem? It was the wrong stadium; the men had landed eight miles away in Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium. #Awkward.
It's not surprising that wide receiver Randy Woodfield didn't make the Packers final roster after he was selected No. 428 overall in the 1974 NFL Draft.
It's also not too surprising that the handsome former Portland State football star kept running afoul from the law, compiling a list of arrests for an array of misdemeanor offenses, including indecent exposure.
Icky, but not shocking.
What is mind-bending is that he emerged as the I-5 Killer, a twisted serial killer who raped and murdered at least 25 people between 1975 and 1981 (when he was arrested) across northern California, Oregon and Washington.
In May 2012, a really terrible Penguins fan named Fred Weiss filed a class action complaint against the Lemieux Group LP, which owns the Pens. According to the lawsuit, California resident Weiss signed up for the team's mobile club and was displeased with the number of textual transmissions he was receiving.
Well that makes plenty of sense. Why unsubscribe from the service by simply responding "STOP" when you can file a frivolous lawsuit and waste the time and money of all parties involved. Weiss never made any attempt to unsubscribe from the onslaught of four texts he received per week.
Any fan who signed on to that nonsense should be deported from Pittsburgh to California to live with Weiss—he obviously doesn't have a life or any friends or family who care about him.
Dutch women's handcyclist Monique van der Vorst began competing in the Paralympic games a few years after she was paralyzed from the waist down after complications following routine ankle surgery when she was just 14 years old.
Tragedy seemed to strike again when she was involved in a cycle crash in 2011 while training.
Rather than injuring van der Vorst further, a few months later she started regaining feeling and movement in her legs—within a year she was walking again. Miraculously she even landed a spot on the Netherland's 2012 women's Olympic cycling team.
Drafted by the Steelers in 1971, late defensive tackle Ernie Holmes immediately stood out for both his reckless abandon on the field and his eccentricities off of it. It was clear to his teammates and franchise owner Dan Rooney that Holmes—who was often racked by paranoid fears of being conspired against—was struggling to maintain control over such rogue thoughts.
Then in March 1973, Holmes snapped—barreling down the Pennsylvania, then Ohio, turnpikes in his car. He began shooting at the wheels of cars he passed with a shotgun. Eventually, surrounded by police, he shot wildly at a circling police helicopter before finally surrendering.
Supported by Rooney and the Steelers organization, Holmes underwent months of inpatient mental health treatment. Eventually Holmes emerged more capable of managing his emotions and earned a starting job as a defensive tackle later that year, winning two Super Bowls with the team.
If you aren't old enough to remember in real-time the infamous one-sided figure skating feud that resulted in Nancy Kerrigan being attacked just weeks before the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, it has to be hard to believe. I am old enough to remember it, and it's still hard to believe.
Sick of being the Jan Brady to Kerrigan's Marsha, Tonya Harding and a band of bumbling white trash goons hatched a plan to take America's sweetheart out of the equation. They hired an even goonier goon to club Kerrigan's right leg after a practice session at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The plan was to break it.
The plan failed. Kerrigan's knee was bruised in the attack, and it did force her to withdraw from the competition, which Harding ultimately won. But Kerrigan was still named to the Olympic team and won the silver medal. Harding finished in eighth place.
With all the hoopla surrounding the NFL Draft these days—it's become a multi-night primetime event—it's hard to imagine anyone would ever pull the same kind of stunt former Saints coach Mike Ditka did in 1999. They'd be absolutely crucified by the media if they did.
Ditka made the decision to trade up to the fifth overall pick. New Orleans traded with Washington and selected running back Ricky Williams. In return the Redskins got all of the Saints other draft picks! There were eight, in total. It was a move only Steve Spurrier could love—Ditka was in, made his pick, then spent the rest of the draft on the golf course.
Then and now, few, if any, considered it a shrewd move. The fact that Ditka hasn't coached since that year really speaks for itself. Of course, there is still one person willing to double down on the decision—Mike Ditka. In 2010 he proudly defended the move and said he'd do it again. Why? Because F YOU, that's why.
In 2003, 50-year-old Publican Vincenzo Frascella was enjoying a round of golf with friends at Orton Meadows Golf Course in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, when lightning struck the umbrella he was carrying—shocking his hand, but otherwise leaving him unharmed.
Like any reasonable fellow, Frascella didn't run screaming to the clubhouse but kept playing. Proving the campy horror flick Final Destination is more true to life than we ever could have imagined, he was struck again a little while later—this time much more severely.
However, he lived through it and will be available for the sequel. But he's gonna need a big raise and a lot of insurance.
In 1973, Yankees pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson, who were longtime teammates as well as friends, struck an unusual deal. Each had fallen in love with the other's wife and swapped "lives"—as Kekich labeled the move—including their homes and children.
The scheme ended up working more favorably for Fritz Peterson, who married Kekich's ex-wife Susan in 1974, while Kekich and Marilyn Peterson split not long after the arrangement.
During the National Anthem in an East Coast Hockey League game between the hometown Bakersfield Condors and Las Vegas Wranglers, fans were treated to a chaotic, condor-fueled spectacle befitting a Benny Hill music mashup.
Shortly after the anthem was under way, the real, live condor mascot decided to ditch the script—busting loose from its handler's grasp. The handler and other brave souls gave chase—stumbling and bumbling across the ice as the bird went straight-up #YOLO.
It sounds too bizarre; too fantastic to have happened—but late Pirates pitcher Doc Ellis stuck to his story about his...state of mind...during his "No-No" in 1970. Ellis—who partied hard and likes his illegal substances—claims he was under the influence of LSD when it happened.
While there is no way to get the absolute truth, more than a few of his contemporaries (on the field and in the media) believe it...and the legend has been examined and brought to life in often amazing fashion.
In March 2013 everyone was still talking about whether or not Bulls point guard Derrick Rose would return for the playoffs—about 10 months after tearing his ACL in the previous postseason. Well…while we were talking about it…Peoria's Matthew Thompson was probably eating his feelings alone in his closet while crying.
Let me explain.
It seems Mr. Thompson—an able-bodied 25-year-old male—took the news of Rose's injury a little harder than the rest of us. According to the lawsuit he filed against the Bulls superstar, Rose's inability to play last season "caused him to have mental breakdowns and emotional distress, which ultimately led to obesity issues."
So Derrick Rose can barely walk for months, and that made Matthew Thompson obese. Gotta love that logic.