Sports is serious business.
Until someone trips all over themselves in pursuit of athletic glory, then it’s just darn funny.
The sports highlights landscape is littered with all manner of professional and amateur athletes, mascots, fans and talking heads pulling laugh-out-loud boners. Some of them actually look painful, in hindsight, until you see them dust themselves off without grievous injury. Then it’s OK to giggle, loudly.
One of the more famous gaffes, came courtesy of none other than Jose Canseco. The ‘Roid raging slugger was plying his trade for Texas and manning the outfield (where his skill sorely lacked in later years). One game against Cleveland, a fly ball was launched his way. He tracked the ball close to the fence easily enough, but took one eye off the ball and had it hit him in the head. As (bad) luck would have it, the ball bounced over the wall for a home run.
Everyone laughed for various reasons. First, Jose was an arrogant type, so Schadenfreude came into play. Second, the slo-mo replay is just hilarious. Third, it was a homer!
But, Canseco has had plenty of (bad) company over the years. Here are 10 of the most hilarious sports fails, ever.
10. Celebration Punch
In hockey, celebrate too hard after dangling for a goal, and you’re bound to pay for it. You whoop it up, eventually someone will whoop your ass. A few years back, Swedish hockey player Henrik Erikssen was playing for Mora IK, when he scored a goal and lost his mind. Known as a grinder with limited skill, he liked to goad arch rival Leksands during Elite League play. In this particular game, he scored to give Mora a 2-1 lead, and in jest hugged Leksands’ hulking defenceman Alen Bibic. Bibic’s response was not what Erikssen was expecting. The pest took a roundhouse right to the face, but undaunted, kept smiling and tapped gloves with his teammates. Bibic and Leksands got the final laugh, though, winning 3-2.
9. Touchdown Celebration Gone Wrong
Kerwin “Suitcase” Bell is something of a legend in South Florida, having been named the 26th best all-time Florida Gator. He was a star quarterback for the Gators in the 80’s, but it didn’t necessarily translate to success in the NFL. He was drafted in the seventh round by Miami (180th overall) in 1988, but got cut and bounced around the league. Eventually, he ended up in the Canadian Football League, where he bounced around some more. He did find success with the Toronto Argonauts in 1998, throwing for 4,991 yards. But it was a running bootleg touchdown that made him infamous. Down 14-3 in the second quarter of a game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Bell faked a hand off and scampered 15-yards into the end zone. Not leaving well enough alone, he taunted the Bombers’ d-backs, then went to spike the ball — right into his own groin. He then bumped into a Winnipeg defender, pitched sideways and was given a final shot for being a dick.
8. Raptors Mascot Fail
The Toronto Raptors inflatable mascot has been famous for many things. Over the years he has “eaten” security guards and cheerleaders to the delight of fans, as well as just giving them a reason to forget bad basketball with general tomfoolery. A few years back, “the Chicken” decided it might be a good idea to rollerblade down a set of stairs toward the court. So, he donned a pair of rollerblades and began his descent. He didn’t get more than a few feet when a skate gave out and he landed on his butt. After a few seconds, he was helped up and continued on down. Once he hit the floor though, his feet started pinwheeling, leading to a hilarious lurch left and an epic face plant.
7. UFC Fighter Punches Himself
MMA fighters are tough guys (and girls). In the course of a match, many punches and kicks are thrown as well as debilitating holds like arm bars and chokeholds. It’s not often, though, that they clock themselves. As one unidentified UFC fighter found out, you can. Prone on the mat and looking to be in some trouble, the fighter takes a wild swing at his opponent, which lands square on his own temple. Wonder if the judges counted it?
6. Chinese Hurdler Runs Amok
Elite hurdlers are the gazelles of the track and field world. Combining blinding speed with incredible leaping ability, they are a beauty to behold. Except for this vertically challenged Chinese university competitor. Exiting the starting blocks was the highlight of his race. It all went horribly downhill from there. He failed to jump the first two gates and then proceeded to launch five subsequent gates into the air with his hands, instead of hurdling them. The fifth one, however got caught on his neck, sending him sideways into his competitor’s lane. So, he gamely pushes his competitor’s second last gate down and then attempts another failed hurdle, still in the wrong lane. And, get this, he didn’t finish last!
5. Lebron Dunks On Kid
Lebron James is a superstar. But when he left Cleveland the first time (notice we said “the first time”), success with the Miami Heat wasn’t immediate. Following a 4-2 defeat to Dallas in the 2011 finals, “The Decision” was mocked in all quarters: fans, opponents and TV talking heads alike. Lending his considerable celebrity to a kids’ basketball summer camp would have seemed to be the tonic for the sulking megastar. In a video posted by an onlooker, James and the wee kids shoot around and can be heard having fun and clowning around. A little later in the video, James grabs a loose ball in the corner and then runs headlong toward the basket. Only problem was, tiny Evan Mahone was standing underneath the basket like a deer caught in the headlights. The poor kid caught all 6’8″ and 250 lbs of Bron-bron’s brawn, sending him flying.
4. Robin van Persie Kicking Fail
In the universe of modern-day soccer superstars, Robin van Persie’s star shines very brightly. The Dutch national striker is gifted enough to captain his national team, as well as earn scads of cash with Manchester United. He has scored 48 goals in 84 matches since joining United in 2012, after netting 96 in 194 contests for Arsenal. The man known for a deft touch and unbelievable dribbling skills, however, showed a real clumsy side while with Arsenal. In a game with the Gunners, van Persie cut right and attempted a shot. One thing — he forget to strike the ball. His kicking leg caused his whole body to pinwheel, sending him flying unceremoniously — and embarrassingly — to the turf.
3. Don Zimmer Gets Rolled By Pedro
The late, great Don Zimmer was a fixture in baseball circles for 65 years. It seems weird now that he’s passed to not see “The Gerbil” manning a dugout somewhere. The man who played with Jackie Robinson had a long and storied career as a player, coach, and manager, winning two World Series as a player with Brooklyn and four more as a coach with the Yankees dynastic team of the late 90’s. Zim was 72 in 2003, when his Yankees tangled with the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. It was a memorable seven-gamer (Yanks would win 4-3) with much bad blood. Early in Game 3, Boston’s Manny Ramirez ducked some high heat from Yanks’ ace Roger Clemens (in retaliation for the Sox Pedro Martinez throwing at a Yanks player). Man-Ram charged the mound, and a melee ensued. Zimmer spotted Martinez and made a lunge at him. Bad call. Martinez sidestopped the aging Zimmer and threw him to the ground with ease. Not one of Zim’s finer moments.
2. Kevin Na Scores 16 On One Hole
Na is a well-known Korean American golfer who is currently ranked 21st in the world and has made a smidge shy of $18,000,000 since turning pro in 2001. Not bad. He isn’t a terribly long hitter, but is fairly accurate off the tee. Well, most of the time. Playing in the 2011 Valero Texas Open, Na would have the dubious distinction of carding the worst score on a par-4 in PGA Tour history. Na sailed his first drive on the ninth at Valero into the woods on the right. He declared an unplayable lie, picked up his ball and went back to the tee, only to send the ball back into those same woods. Umpteen shots later, he holed a six-foot putt for a 16. His attempts to get out of the woods would make even the most angry hacker happy. To make matters worse, he played the other 17 holes at 4-under.
1. Patrick Stefan Goal Whiff
For a brief period, Patrik Stefan’s hockey road was paved with gold. As a 17-year-old the Czech native was scoring goals playing against men in the defunct International Hockey League. After two decent seasons with the Long Beach Ice Dogs, the Atlanta Thrashers took him first overall in the 1999 draft. That would end up being the highlight of his career. He would go on to score a paltry 64 goals in 455 NHL games (mostly with Atlanta) and generally be known thereafter as a gigantic bust. Adding insult to injury, the lowlight of his career happened while he was playing his final season with Dallas in 2006-07. In what can only be described as the worst goal-scoring fail ever, Stefan had the puck on his stick and a wide-open net late in a game against Edmonton and the Stars leading 5-4. Instead of sliding the puck harmlessly into the net, he whiffed, fell and couldn’t recover. Edmonton turned the puck over with enough time for fellow countryman and Oiler Ales Hemsky to tie it up. His saving grace? Dallas would win in a shootout.