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by James Kinneen
If you want something done right, you go to a professional. And that’s especially true when it comes to sports – the Yankees aren’t recruiting people from a slow pitch softball league to help them win the World Series.
But sometimes, some roguish amateur steps up to the plate (heh) and completely destroys the folks who are considered the best in the world. And the results are pretty incredible.
Professional Football Coach Gets Schooled In Pee Wee Football ... Twice
Sean Payton is the head coach of the New Orleans Saints; the 2005 AP NFL Coach of the Year, a Super Bowl Champion in 2009, and at the time of this writing, his team is in first place in the NFC South with a 10-2 record. The point is, the man can coach football. But there was one team that Payton could never manage to beat over the course of his distinguished coaching career: the Orange Porcupines of Springtown, Texas.
See, in 2012 Payton was suspended from the NFL after the Saints were accused of paying their players cash bonuses for injuring opponents in a scandal that came to be known as Bountygate. Payton opted to spend the year helping to coach his son’s football team, building the Liberty Christian Warriors into a powerhouse that rolled over every opponent. That is, until they played the Porcupines.
Like something out of “Little Giants,” the Porcupines ran all over the Warriors by employing a long-forgotten offense Payton would never see in the NFL. Known as the “single-wing,” the offense depends on misdirection and fake hand-offs, with players rarely ever throwing the ball. With a not especially talented group of kids, the Porcupines beat Payton’s team 38-6 in a game that was never close.
“OK, this time, we’re going to run the ‘Destroy a Professional’ play.”
Flustered and knowing they would face the Porcupines again in the playoffs, Payton promised his athletes pizza and arcade tokens to injure the other team’s players. Just kidding -- he actually sought help from former NFL head coach Bill Parcells and current Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden. Together, the three used their decades of football knowledge to craft a complex scheme to stop the single-wing.
So, what happened in the big rematch? The Porcupines won even more handily, handing the Warriors a 58-18 loss. To Payton’s credit, he did congratulate the kids on a hard-fought win. Then he went back to the NFL having been bested by a pee-wee football coach twice, and presumably prayed that no NFL team would ever try to run that old, obscure offense that gave him hell.
A Beer League Goalie Enters An NHL Game And Stops Every Shot He Faces
While beer league hockey usually features overweight schlubs and wannabe tough guys, it can sometimes feature actual NHL-caliber players. Such was the case with Scott Foster, a 36-year-old accountant from Illinois who played rec league hockey at a rink called Johnny’s Icehouse. Although he had never played in the NHL, he would sometimes serve as the Chicago Blackhawks’ emergency backup goalie since he had played a bit in college and in the Western Ontario Hockey League.
It’s a position so unlikely to ever see ice time that he would watch the game from the press box, never dressing or getting to sit on the bench with the team. Except for that one, rare-ass time when the Blackhawks lost enough goaltenders to injury in March and their third string goalie left the game with cramps in the third period. That’s when Foster had to leave the relative comfort and free buffet in the press box, suit up, and hit the ice.
“Oh, man… maybe I shouldn’t have had that second helping of nachos.”
And that’s when Foster stopped all seven of the shots he faced. In an NHL game. He cracked some jokes with the media afterward and headed home, because unlike everybody else on the ice, he had to work the next day.
A Professional Soccer Club Loses A Champions League Qualifying Match To An Amateur Team
Celtic FC is a Scottish professional soccer club – they’re pretty well-known, and worth about $50 million. The Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar are an amateur team from a territory of 30,000 people, less than twice the number of people the Celtic FC home stadium can hold, and comprised of cops, civil servants, taxi drivers and other part-time soccer players with day jobs. So when they faced off in the second round of Champions League qualifying, the winner should never have been a question.
And it wasn’t a question, because Celtic FC lost. In a game that would become known as “The Shock of Gibraltar,” the two teams played a tight, defensive game in which the lone goal came from the foot of Officer Lee Casciaro. Celtic fans went nuts, and questioned both their players and their coach while the UK media made various cheeky jokes at Celtic’s expense including The Daily Mail’s headline: “Celtic beaten by butchers bakers and candlestick makers.”
They’ll beat you at muffin contests, too.
Celtic never directly responded to the slight, likely out of fear that the journalists, ad execs, and printers would form their own team and challenge them to a match.
23-Year-Old Student Accidentally Qualifies For World Championships After Beating Pros In First London Marathon
Josh Griffiths was a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University who entered his first London marathon hoping to qualify for the Commonwealth Games. He was so hopeless and out of his element, that he had to follow a paramedic for a while to figure out where the starting line of the race was.
But instead of simply qualifying for The Commonwealth Games, he beat a bunch of Olympians, came in only 10 minutes behind the winner, and was the fastest British male to finish the race with a blistering time of 2 hours 14 minutes and 49 seconds.
Weirdly, like some kind of cross country Forrest Gump, Griffiths didn’t really understand what was happening until he crossed the finish line, since he’d just been trying to keep up with an elite group of runners that he had looked up to for a long time, having started with the other club runners, not the starting group of professionals.
Who do you have to pay to get up front, anyway?
This inspirational story inspired a number of amateurs to start running, and his story is being made into ... just kidding. Nobody likes running.
Amateur Mountain Biker Beats Olympic And Pro Legend Thanks To Long Work Commute
While most people feel like they’re doing something positive when they listen to a podcast or a book on tape during their way to work, Dana Weber used his lengthy commute to become a mountain biking champion. Weber, a director of operations for a travel agency, used to commute 40 miles by bicycle on his way to his job, primarily as a way to train for his weekend hobby of racing mountain bikes.
Which ... apparently worked very well. Weber would ultimately go on to race in the Orange County Vision Quest Race, a 55 mile race throughout the Santa Ana Mountains where he would face mountain biking legend David “Tinker” Juarez, a mountain biking hall-of-famer and two-time Olympian who had won the race the previous year. Weber beat Juarez over the course of the five-hour race by just 1 minute 11 seconds, proving that commuting to work can have some positives as long as you use your time wisely.
Preferably with sweet-ass jumps.
Wait, you can totally listen to that podcast or book while biking your ass off! Hell yes. Just … if it really is 40 miles, make sure you have a change of clothes or some Febreze or something.
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