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The Everyman

by Scott Rintoul / Vancouver Canucks
Kyle Wellwood has been the talk of the town for the better part of the past two weeks now.

Whether he’s embarrassing a goalie in a shootout or scoring sublime goals on the powerplay, the free agent signing has Canucknation abuzz with his offensive prowess. One thing has become very apparent during Wellwood’s recent string of success. Fans love to embrace “the everyman”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m right there with you. I find Wellwood refreshingly honest to talk to in sport that is littered with clichés. But that’s not what has fans in Kyle’s corner. It’s that fact that he’s not perfect.

Wellwood came to training camp in less than ideal shape for a professional athlete. Initially, he was ridiculed for a body that was as soft as his hands. Now, his less than Adonis body makes him an endearing figure. He’s easier to relate to than a guy with 3% body fat and the strength of an ox. There’s just something about a player built like a dude you’d see at your weekly pickup game. If he fails, you shake your head and say, “If I was playing pro, I’d be in tip-top condition.” But if he succeeds, it’s almost as though you’re succeeding.

With that in mind, here are a few athletes that have captured the imagination of the sports fans over years, even if they are fictional.

Scott Rintoul is a host of the BMac and Rintoul show on the Team 1040 broadcaster in the mornings starting at 6am.

Send him an e-mail.

The Hanson Brothers – Slap Shot

No better place to start for Canadians than the cult classic Slap Shot.

Anybody that’s ever laced up a pair of skates knows that even if you can’t dangle like some of the game’s greats, there’s still a place in the game for guys that like the rough stuff.

From the moment the trio first takes the ice for the Chiefs, they are crowd pleasers.

Jeff, Steve and Jack begin to run roughshod over the league with their horn-rimmed glasses, sweet lids and foiled knuckles. From pregame donnybrooks with the opposition to trips into the stands to throw haymakers with fans, the Hanson brothers become rock stars to the Charlestown faithful.

They might not be the most talented dudes to ever play the fastest game on ice, but they might the most popular.

Happy Gilmore

If you can’t make it on the ice, how about on the links?

Gilmore would have been a Hanson brothers’ clone if only he could have skated.

After getting cut from yet another hockey tryout, Adam Sandler’s character accidentally uncovers an uncanny ability to hit a golf ball farther than was thought to be humanly possible.

Unfortunately, his hands around the greens are akin to those of a blacksmith. But his hockey stick putter eventually comes around with the help of coach Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers), and he becomes a legit contender for tour hot shot Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald). Happy’s course antics include hockey fighting a guy on the course, and getting knocked out by Bob Barker in a pro-am.

Anyone who’s watched the movie and says they haven’t tried to hit a “Happy Gilmore Drive” is lying.

Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn – Major League

Major League isn’t the best baseball movie ever made, but Ricky Vaughn is a classic. Charlie Sheen’s character has a Nolan Ryan type fastball but can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Anything over the plate is unhittable, but the chances of Vaughn throwing it there are miniscule.

After his manager figures out that the Wild Thing has vision problems, glasses make him the most dominant closer in the game.

Adding to the Wild Thing’s appeal is a haircut that looks like it was done by a lawnmower and penchant for throwing right hooks as hard as his fastballs.

Roy Munson - Kingpin

What’s not to love about an alcoholic bowler with a prosthetic hand?

Young Roy Munson (Woody Harrleson) is on his way to bowling fame and fortune until a hustle contrived by Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray) goes wrong.

Munson loses his bowling hand and his career as a result and goes on to a life of drinking and bowling alley supplies. Upon discovering what he thinks is a prodigy in Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid), the two hatch a plan to win the $1,000,000 purse in an Open tourney in Nevada.

Along the way, Munson rediscovers his game, only to succumb to the legendary McCracken himself. Anyone who’s seen this movie will always pay rent on time.

John Belushi

Without question, the greatest decathlete ever.

Belushi’s Saturday Night Live skit is one of the greatest product endorsements ever done by an athlete.

Belushi plays himself, a champion decathlete that looks more like competitive eater. Footage shows him participating in a variety of events before he comes on to endorse his breakfast of choice – Little Chocolate Donuts.

Not only is he schilling for a breakfast that isn’t exactly Wheaties, he does so while smoking. Massive.
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