The agony of defeat is one of the most tried and true of all sports clichés. The pain. The angst. The sense of loss. The emptiness. It’s all well documented, as are the twisted and blubbering visages of our favourite athletes in times of anguish.
I wanted to give some play to those athletes who, when something goes right, are so hyped up that they actually do physical damage to themselves during celebration.
To me, nothing is funnier in an ironic sense then when athletes perform well and over zealously celebrate their performance, injuring themselves in the process.
With that, I give some examples of the agony of victory.
The never-ending good luck that is the birthright of Chicago Cubs pitchers continued when Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, one of the team’s starters and key contributors, broke his right-big toe while leaping our of the dugout in celebration of the Cubbies victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the grand tradition of Cubbies pitcher injuries, it wasn’t as minor of an injury as it probably should've been considering the circumstances, and he’s going to miss a month, at least.
If I were the Cubbies I’d have all my pitching staff locked in chains from head to toe, only to be released for the duration of their pitching appearance, and re-shackled the instant they left the field.
I mean, come on. Seriously.
Ah, Lindsay Kildow. Now Lindsay Vonn. This woman is tougher than a roomful of Irish grandmothers. She's had a couple of fairly serious injuries, most notably two knee injuries, certainly detrimental for a professional skier.
But the woman keeps coming back, and keeps winning. Perhaps that's not such a good thing for her.
In February of this year Vonn won a race, and of course she felt like celebrating. We all know that skiers don't drink, so in a moment of weakness, Vonn acquiesced to opening a bottle of champagne.
Only, instead of a cork, she decided to use one of her skis. I mean, she's so good with her skis, why not? Because...she cut her hand and required four stiches, that's why.
But as I mentioned, this woman is tougher than Chuck Norris wearing kevlar, so she came back with the bloody mitt and won the Slalom Race the next day.
I believe she celebrated that victory with a nice, cold beer. Twist-off.
For those of you who don't know who Darius McClure is (that is, everyone who doesn't live in Tallahassee, FL) he was a safety for the Florida State Seminoles.
McClure is a gifted athlete, and often played pickup and horse with the Seminole basketball team. With teammate and fellow secondary member Myron Rolle becoming a Rhodes scholar and his pending absence from FSU, McClure was counted on to make an impact in the secondary last season.
He sure did; but it wasn't exactly what he nor the squad had in mind.
After toiling on special teams and as a backup for most of his career, McClure finally got a shot to play safety last season. Against Boston College in November, he garnered his first career interception.
Understandably excited, he pulled the old "jump-and-bump" celebration with his teammate, the much larger Toddrick Verdell. The jump was executed perfectly; the bump, not so much. The size difference obviously threw McClure off his game, causing him to land awkwardly.
The sound heard next was his career effectively ending. Though that is sad, the irony of the kid ruining his own career celebrating his first interception cannot be ignored.
To avoid celebration-related injury players should stick to more vanilla celebrations like the the cabbage-patch, the Elaine Benes, or the ever-popular sprinkler. Nothing gets hurt there; except ego and the advancement of pop culture.
Okay. We all know this one. In the history of celebratory injuries, this is prossibly the most famous and most pathetic. Former Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica (yes, I believe he's related to Martin) booted a 42-yard field goal against the Giants to give them a whopping 3-0 lead in the first half of a 2001 regular-season game.
It's understandable that Gramatica celebrated wildly afterward, as his points were the first scored by the Cardinals since they were in St. Louis. Knowing he'd secured at least a moral victory by taking their first lead in years, Gramatica responded in understandably elated fashion.
He jumped up in celebration, completely oblivious to the fact that kickers lack the athleticism to jump high into the air and properly land. Of course he landed awkwardly, tearing his ACL, his pride, his soul, his ego, his self-respect, and his dignity all at the same time.
Amazingly, he recovered from these serious injuries and played in the NFL a couple more seasons, but was mostly ineffective. Last heard, he was in the Arena league, missing extra points and field goals in an effort to temper his enthusiasm and keep himself on the field.
In regards to trashing the team: Easy Cards fans, this was 2001 when the Cards still sucked and the Raiders were good. I was being facetious. I know the score now. Trust me, I know.
By the way, in an interesting and impressive side note, the player who kicked the kickoff immediately after the injury? Pat Tillman.
Was there anything that guy couldn't do?
Soccer isn't exactly as popular in North America as it is everywhere else in the World, but perhaps if we saw more idiots like Fabian Espindola on the pitch, we'd tune in more often.
Espindola, an Argentinian, began his career in his homeland but was quickly bounced around various squads, and eventually ended up in the MLS with Real Salt Lake.
Obviously extremely excited to be moving from boring, sexually-repressed South America and it's terrible weather to open-minded, sexually uninhibited and warm, sunny Utah, the man had every reason to celebrate. He wanted the fans to celebrate with him, however, so he decided to bring his antics to the pitch.
He scored his first career goal against the Kansas City Wizards, and delighted and wowed everyone by celebrating with a backflip. Now, that kind of zealotry is rarely seen in North American sport, but apparently it is his trademark from his early playing days in South America. South American and European players are well known for their over-the-top antics and celebrations. We like that kind of stuff here; but we like this kind of stuff even more:
In September 2008, against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Espindola went offside. But he didn't care. The rules of the game don't apply to him. He marched right on in, and scored anyway. Before the offical could wave off the goal, an ecstatic Espindola wanted to prove yet again that he could so do a proper backflip. So he threw one down.
He landed awkwardly on Vicotria Bechkam's left implant, severely spraining his ankle and effectively ensuring his backflipping days were over for at least 8 weeks. As he lay in agony on the field, he could at least take solace in the fact that he had just scored............
I would've paid money to see his face when they told him the goal didn't even count.
For the excessiveness of the celebration, the fact that he was injured significantly, and the fact the goal didn't even count, this one is my favourite.