Where Are They Now: Kids Sports Movie Edition
As sports fans, one thing that can replace all the jaw-dropping excitement we get to see nearly every day in real-life games is the fictional drama from a sports movie.
The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Cool Runnings and Little Giants are just a few of my all-time favorites, with classic lines and scenes never to be forgotten.
Unfortunately, age happens to all of the hilarious kids from those films, which is why I'm taking a look at where some of them are today—with bets that none are in a band, singing only about pizza, as one former childhood star is.
Sheryl Yoast (Hayden Panettiere)
Movie: Remember the Titans
One of the more famous kids from sports movies growing up, actress Hayden Panettiere may have come off as a bratty, whiny, way-too-intense for her own good eight-year-old in the movie Remember the Titans, but she grew up to be quite the babe—we got see this when Panettiere broke out as a star in the hit show Heroes.
Ray Boy (Jonathan Lipnicki)
Movie: Jerry Maguire
This kid seemed to have it made growing up.
Sure, Jonathan Lipnicki might have had soda pop glasses and spiky hair when younger, but starring alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire made him just about the funniest little kid around.
Lipnicki isn't much for giving random facts about humans or dogs these days, as he's more about MMA training, earning himself a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and fighting in a few bouts the past few years.
Happy Gilmore's Waterbury Open Caddy (Jared Van Snellenberg)
Movie: Happy Gilmore
After getting his first role as the goofy-looking caddy to Happy Gilmore at the Waterbury Open, Jared Van Snellenberg has starred in a few more films over the last 20 years or so.
Ironically enough, his start with actor Adam Sandler was the first of three films in which he worked with former Saturday Night Live actors—he played alongside Jon Lovitz in Rat Race and Darrel Hammond in Agent Cody Banks.
Though Jared looks dimwitted, he stepped out of the acting scene to focus on education, pursuing a career in academic psychology in 2002.
Wendy Peffercorn (Marley Shelton)
Movie: The Sandlot
Without a doubt, one of the first crushes any kid who grew up in the '90s had was Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot—the epitome of what a summer lifeguard was supposed to look like.
These days, actress Marley Shelton is still landing a few credits—scoring small parts in Sin City, Grindhouse and Scream 4—and is still really attractive, making me personally jealous of her Hollywood producer husband, Beau Flynn—whom she has two kids with.
Plus, her part as Wendy inspired many other hot ladies to dress up as the lifeguard, too.
Hamilton "Ham" Porter (Patrick Renna)
Movie: The Sandlot and The Big Green
While actor Patrick Renna is best-known as the loud-mouthed Hamilton "Ham" Porter from The Sandlot, lest we forget that he actually has the privilege of starring in another kids sports movie, The Big Green.
After seeing the baseball cult film The Sandlot turn 20 last spring, Renna was paired back up with his backyard ballplayer buddies at Dodger Stadium, and he's currently working on a new movie called Bad Roomies—in which he started a Kickstarter for to get funding.
Reaching their goal of $75,000, it looks as if plenty of people still love the "Ham."
Julie Gaffney (Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine)
Movie: D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks
She may have starred in one of the most epic and dramatic scenes ever in a sports film, but Julie "The Cat" Gaffney isn't stopping many pucks these days.
In fact, besides a small part in Men in Black II in 2002, Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine isn't even stepping in front of the camera anymore.
Stilwell Angel (Justin Scheller)
Movie: A League of Their Own
In his own words, the kid who played that annoying Stilwell Angel in A League of Their Own has admitted that the role was his 15 minutes of fame.
So it probably isn't surprising to hear that as soon as he finished his last candy bar in the film, he stepped away from acting—except for a part in a school play or two.
The part did pay well, though, with Justin Scheller using part of the money to spend on college—where I really hope he broke into character late-night after a long day of boozing.
Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers)
Movie: Air Bud
When 12-years-old, I was still skating around in my parents' basement with neighborhood buddies, playing roller hockey and soccer down there.
I'd say my pre-teen years weren't as good as Kevin Zegers' were, as the actor starred in the Air Bud trilogy starting at the same age.
Though he hasn't made it big, these days Zeger continues to act, with credits in Gossip Girl and the movie The Colony, opposite Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton.
Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry)
Movie: The Sandlot
One of the most memorable roles in a kids sports movie in my childhood, Scotty Smalls may not have known much about baseball, but he told one hell of a story about his buddies and him playing it in The Sandlot.
Still acting, Tom Guiry has been in films like Mystic River and Black Hawk Down.
More recently, though, the dude had cops yelling, "You're killing me, Smalls!" as Guiry found himself busted for head-butting a cop back in 2013.
Spike Hammersmith (Sam Horrigan)
Movie: Little Giants, Brink!
As a beast of a football player in the movie Little Giants, Sam Horrigan mentioned how, "Spike don't play with girls," yet he was doing just that as himself on the fourth season of Beauty and the Geek.
Lucky for him, the unscripted show didn't derail his career, which before this had also included the Disney Channel movie about rollerblading, Brink! He's also been seen on episodes of CSI and True Blood over the past several years.
Of course, some may remember him from his recurring role as Quentin Kelly in the TV show Grace Under Fire—which he held down for three seasons.
Roger Bomman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Movie: Angels in the Outfield
After sort of being silent for a few years following his role as the angel-seeing Roger Bomman in the baseball movie Angels in the Outfield, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has completely taken off.
Surviving an awkward Tim Lincecum-like haircut while on the TV show 3rd Rock from the Sun, Gordon-Levitt seems to be every girl’s secret crush, pulling out stunts like a lip-synching contest, along with big-time roles in movies like 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises and 500 Days of Summer.
Yeah, I'd say he's doing damn well for himself.
Dean Portman (Aaron Lohr)
Movie: D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks
As one of the Bash Brothers in the last two The Mighty Ducks movies, Dean Portman was an enforcer and intimidator who scared the hell out of all pre-pubescent kids matched up against him.
While he's not decking fools much now, Aaron Lohr has still maintained somewhat of a career in acting, with credits such as White Collar, Blue Bloods and the film-adaptation of the musical Rent.
Following D3, Lohr went on to study theater at UCLA, so it appears as if he's taking advantage of the degree.
Fulton Reed (Elden Henson)
Movie: The Mighty Ducks trilogy
What? Did you really think that I was going to mention one Bash Brother and not give a shout-out to the other?
Every once in awhile, I'll see a movie with actor Elden Henson in it and think, "Hey! There's Fulton Reed."
For better or worse, Henson will always be associated with the slap-shooting, hard-hitting kid from The Mighty Ducks trilogy—though he's also scored roles in movies like The Butterfly Effect and as an outcast in She's All That before that.
He'll be playing the role of Pollux in the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay movies, parts one and two over the next few years.
Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas)
Movie: Rookie of the Year
Much like the aforementioned Joseph Gordon-Levitt from Angels in the Outfield, I'm guessing there are plenty of you out there who recognize Thomas Ian Nicholas—who played the hard-throwing Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year.
With credits from the American Pie series, as well as a tweaked out, college kid in The Rules of Attraction, he's still recognizable amongst some of these childhood stars.
On top of acting, dude has a band that he regularly concentrates on, so keep an ear out for that, too.
There was a great piece on him written for SI.com, profiling what he's been up to.
Becky "Icebox" O'Shea (Shawna Waldron)
Movie: Little Giants
None of us may have thought the tomboy linebacker Becky "Icebox" O'Shea was all that cute back when playing in Little Giants, but I have a good feeling we can agree that actress Shawna Waldron would get all of our attention these days—because she's quite the looker.
Still acting today, the 32-year-old has gotten a few credits in various movies and TV shows, with her latest work coming in the 2013 thriller, Lizzie.
Billy Heywood (Luke Edwards)
Movie: Little Big League
He was the envy of kids everywhere when he inherited the Minnesota Twins from his deceased grandpa in Little Big League, and Billy Haywood—actor Luke Edwards—gave millions of baseball fans one of the best kids sports movies ever.
Although Edwards' career slowed down a bit, it seems casting directors are calling his name again, as he's credited with five films in the past 12-plus months.
Not bad for a kid who was "once manager" of the Twins.
Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez and Luis Mendoza (Mike Vitar)
Movie: The Sandlot and D2: The Mighty Ducks
One of the most famous kids sports movie characters ever, I'm sure that actor Mike Vitar had no idea just how big the role of Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez would be for him.
In addition to his role as the best ballplayer in the block in The Sandlot, Vitar pulled double duty as the speedster on the last two The Mighty Ducks films as Luis Mendoza.
While he may not be acting any longer, the Mike has a career he's probably pretty proud of—as a firefighter in Los Angeles.
It might not be as glamorous as a thespian, but it seems to have been more rewarding for him.
Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson)
Movie: The Mighty Ducks trilogy
Without a doubt in my mind, captain Duck, Charlie Conway, was the most popular kids sports star on the planet—yes, I'm convinced that everyone wanted to be this guy.
Coming from scrappy, young kid on D-5 to a Junior Goodwill Games champion, Charlie was always on top of his game.
The actor—Joshua Jackson—is still going at it today, too.
With credits from flicks like Urban Legend and Cruel Intentions, along with longstanding roles on TV shows Dawson's Creek and Fringe, Jackson may have grown-up, but I think we all still look at him as Charlie.