The 2018 FIFA World Cup is in full swing and in high fashion as the storylines are plentiful and the games are significant. Watching these athletes pour out their hearts on the field has my love for sports at a high. At the same time, I have been looking at rekindling the Top Ten series on the blog, and fictional sports teams seemed like an obvious fit.
Sports play a role in our lives. They promote unity, loyalty, and celebration. There is no experience like cheering for a team all of your life to see them win the biggest games. It makes sense that sports have found their place in fiction, as many of the emotions of grief and joy work well in a great story. A good sports movie can invoke a wide range of emotions so, I have compiled a list of my ten favourite teams from all walks of fiction. Let’s have a look:
10. Halifax Highlanders
Goon was a movie that should not have worked. The sports movie genre was a dying breed by 2011. Focusing on the bruiser was also a gamble as professional hockey has been working hard to do away with that part of the sport. Written and produced by Canadian actor Jay Baruchel, he did an amazing job of bringing in the true heart and grittiness of the nations favourite sport. Seann William Scott, who has failed to gain momentum since American Pie, absolutely nailed the role of the greaser and brought out the love and pride for the Highlanders.
9. Gotham Knights
Out of all the superhero comic books out there, the Gotham Knights are easily the most recognizable sports team. Sure, there are not many fictional cities involved, and by association, it is simpler to reference real-world teams, but Gotham is easily the most popular pretend town. The Gotham Knights have always been a staple despite going through name changes like the former Goliaths, changing through sports from baseball to basketball and failing to be represented in film when Dark Knight Rises opted for the previously unused name Gotham Rogues for their football team. Still, the Gotham Knights are the best team in the DC Universe.
8. Flint Tropics
I recently rewatched the film Semi-Pro to be reminded of something that often comes up. Old Will Ferrell movies carry a timeless humour that seemingly get better the older they get. Jackie Moon was one hell of a promoter and to be the star of a team that included Woody Harrelson and Andre 3000 is an impressive feat. The only downside of the Flint Tropics is they are absolutely terrible and would be awful to watch if Moon wasn’t going to fight a bear or give out free pancakes.
7. South Park Cows
From dodgeball to football the South Park Cows are a big part of the small Colorado town. Some of these teams have managed to work their way to championship and international events. The South Park Cows were also the very first sarcastiball team in history. For typically involving the same group of grade school children all of these accomplishments are pretty impressive. Plus, to go with a name like the cows is great unto itself.
6. South Central Louisiana State Mud Dogs
“Water sucks. Gatorade is better.” Truer words have never been spoken. The team that found a star player in their resident waterboy showed that miracles can happen. This was a movie that took a formula oft-used by children movies and adapted it to adult humour. That is kind of what Adam Sandler is good at, and considering this may have been his last great film, it is a formula he may want to reconsider. Either way, the Mud Dogs deserve to go down in fictional sports history.
5. Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Softball Team
In one of the most memorable episodes of the Simpsons ever, Mr. Burns managed to bring together one of the greatest baseball teams to never exist. Ken Griffey Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, the list goes on to create a brilliant line-up of temporary power plant employees. The 1992 city champions of workplace softball teams are not a team that should be forgotten.
4. Charlestown Chiefs
Slap Shot is a film before my time. However, it has found its way as an essential not only in hockey culture but Canadian culture as well. This is considered the hockey movie in a world dominated by baseball and football stories. There is no denying that the Charlestown Chiefs have influenced all of the hockey focused films to come after Slap Shot.
3. Tune Squad
Faced with the daunting task of saving his world and that of professional basketball, Bugs Bunny pulled off the impossible and brought together a champion team out of nothing. With a line-up that includes Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and the Tasmanian Devil, it would be blasphemous to have this team anywhere other than the top five.
2. Milwaukee Beers
Out of all the teams on this list, there is none with as many championships as the Milwaukee Beers. Sure, the sport was designed intentionally to be easy to play, to the point that being drunk could actually help you. Nevertheless, the Beers are legends of their sport and the greatest at what they do. There were a slew of great fictional teams in Baseketball, but you have to give it to the creators.
1. The Mighty Ducks
Three movies, a pee wee championship, an international championship, and a professional hockey team named after them, the Mighty Ducks are less of a story and more of a legend. These films played a significant influence on my growing up, despite Canada’s lack of representation in D2 – Iceland? Really? In fact, these movies were packed with inaccuracies, but that does not take away how brilliant they were. I will always love this team above most fictional teams. Quack. Quack. Quack.