Welcome to the Lame Game Hall of Shame
Footy and bad boys go together as well as mixed netball and humiliation. Just this weekend in the Manchester City versus QPR premier league title-decider, Ranger’s captain Joey Barton managed to elbow, knee and head-butt three opposition players in the space of about thirty seconds.
He was then finally dragged to the sidelines, but not before doing a poo in the mascot’s kitbag (probably).
Now, that’s all well and great for footy fans, but what about supporters of sports that don’t involve 20-30 lunatics on a pitch trying to murder each other in the name of excellence?
Where do the followers of less-combative games get their fix of loveable rogues and damning “A Current Affair” stories? After all, sport without villains is about as fun as an Arnie movie without terrible one-liners or flamethrowers.
Luckily, it turns out that even the wimpiest of sports have their own budding bad boys.
Welcome to the lame game hall of shame!
1. The sport: Badminton (i.e.: the game you play on camping trips when the surf sucks and you can’t find a footy pump)
The bad boy: Lin Dan
The shame: Who puts the “bad” in badminton? Lin does! While he may be known in his native China for winning Olympic gold in 2008, mean man Dan has made news around the badminton world for his fiery outbursts. These include ripping a silver medal from his neck at a ceremony, throwing his racquet at an opposition coach mid-game and allegedly punching his own coach Ji Xinpeng in the face (Stephen Kearney must feel so lucky).
He also once wore a t-shirt with a picture of himself on it while training, a move that would probably even make Warwick Capper blush.
2. The sport: Curling (i.e.: the game where men hold brooms and don’t fly around on them or anything)
The bad boys: John Morris (note: not the former NRL fan-favourite) and Joe Frans
The shame: John Morris broke his earned his bad boy tag by breaking his broom over his leg during a match in 2007, proving that the stress of rapidly sweeping an empty ice-rink can affect even the best of us. Fortunately, the stadium janitor was on hand with a spare.
His one-time partner Joe Frans was already on the naughty list after testing positive to cocaine in 2005, earning the first positive drug test in curling history. He also earned a lot of crappy headlines in Canada making use of the word “ice”.
3. The sport: Chess (i.e.: the game that you can play in a public library if you haven’t found the nude photography books yet)
The bad boy: Bobby Fischer
The shame: An eccentric genius (i.e. the justification for being a talented nuttier) that many considered the greatest ever, Bobby Fischer was a chess prodigy who’s foul temper slowly spiralled into paranoia, crass behaviour, anti-Semitism and generally being a douche.
Bobby won the 1972 world championship, complaining about his chair, the lighting and the noise from TV cameras on his way to breaking a 26-year Russian stranglehold on the title. After losing his title in 1975, though, his biggest achievements prior to his death in 2008 included an infatuation with a 19-year-old Hungarian girl, being indicted by the U.S. government for violating a United Nations embargo against Yugoslavia, and broadcasting radio rants from the Philippines about Jews, communists, the criminality of the USA and the corruption of the international chess establishment.
Rumours that his dad was actually Bert Newton cannot be confirmed by this author.
4. The sport: Croquet (i.e.: the game involving giant mallets where hitting people isn’t just frowned upon, but outright discouraged!)
The bad boy: Mik Mehas
The shame: Many things probably come to mind when one pictures croquet; the crisp white uniforms, serene lawns full of dignified players, hardcore violent biker-exploitation movies…
Yes, when not winning international croquet tournaments, former LA Dodgers baseball star Mad Mik Mehas could be found in must-see classics such as “The Girls From Thunder Strip”, “The Pink Biker Gang”, “The Cycle Savages” and “Hell’s Chosen Few”.
Whether this reason alone is what led to Mehas being banned from several elite croquet clubs – including the one in his home town – is debatable, but I’m willing to bet that he would have skimped on the iced tea and cucumber sandwiches anyway.