Stranger Than Fiction II – The Sequel

Eric Urbanowicz
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Over the millennia, history has stockpiled many great philosophers. From Aristotle to Plato to Socrates to Christopher Walken teaching billiards and not holding a cowbell, these men have paved the way for how we view life, and its meanings.

Okay, maybe the last one is a stretch but over the years, sports movie quotes have elevated past their original meanings, only to inspire the next generations and take on new ideas that now more than ever, may mean something. We did this a few months back with our piece “Stranger Than Fiction – Sports Movie Quotes To Consider,” and like any good movie it deserved a sequel. So here’s the direct to website premiere of this latest chapter.

“You got this lion, he’s the king of the jungle. Huge mane out to here. He’s laying down under a tree, in the middle of Africa, he’s so big, he’s so hot! He doesn’t wanna move. Now, the little lion cubs they start messin’ with him, bitin’ his tail, bitin’ his ears, he doesn’t do anything. The lioness, she starts messing with him, coming over making trouble, still nothing. Now the other animals, they notice this, and they start to move in. The jackals, hyenas, they’re barking at him, laughing at him. They nip his toes and eat the food that’s in his domain. They do this and they get closer and closer and bolder and bolder, till one day…that lion gets up and tears the s*** outta everybody, runs like the wind, eats everything in his path, ’cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals who he is.” Uncle Mike, Poolhall Junkies

Let’s start with the Christopher Walken movie that was teased in the introduction. Chances are, when you hear “Christopher Walken” and “sports movie” together, there’s a better chance you’re thinking of the movie where he wants to face Randy Daytona in a game of ping pong, not Poolhall Junkies (if you’ve ever seen it).

In one of the more memorable scenes of the movie, Mike is trying to get Johnny fired up by comparing him to a sleeping lion. Citing how there are several outside factors that would bug a sleeping lion, it’s only a matter of time before he wakes up and goes on a rampage. All this just to show it’s fellow animals who is the boss.

As long and crass as this quote may be, it’s one that probably should be told to any athlete that’s struggling or in a slump. Inside every athlete is that sleeping lion, ready to awaken and show the world that they’re still the king. The only hope a fellow athlete has against that lion once it was awoken, is try to get it back to sleep, but good luck with that.


“I look at you and I see two men: the man you are, and the man you ought to be. Someday those two will meet.” Jimmy McGinty, The Replacements

Probably one of the most underrated football movies, The Replacements is one of those rare sports movies that’s able to balance comedy and drama pretty well. Part of that is thanks to chapter of Jimmy McGinty, portrayed by Gene Hackman. While he has some funny moments in the movie, it’s his ability to still deliver lines and moments like this that really just drives home how good of a character it is.

This line comes after Keanu Reeves character, Shane Falco, asks why he wanted him to be the replacement quarterback. McGinty delivers this line explaining there are two athletes inside of him: the one that he currently is and the one he’s supposed to be. It’s basically a talk about potential.

Each athlete is comprised of two people: one person who is the athlete at this current stage of their career and one person who has reached their prime. Often fans may see a rookie or younger player and not think much of them at first, sometimes causing self-doubt in said player. It’s only when they get on that hot streak and become the player they were meant to be that confidence is restored and the world collide, creating a balanced but great player.


“You keep talking about yourself the way you do, boasting about yourself, you’re going to end up all by yourself, alone and empty, like you are right now. You know what’s going to happen? They’re gonna retire your number someday, and Big Horse Berelli gonna be standing right up there with you.” – Stan Ross, Mr. 3000

If an older athlete met someone that seems like a younger version of themself in both the good ways and bad, what would they tell that person? Would they let them live their lives the same way or would they try to lead them down a path that avoids those same pitfalls? Well this happens in the movie, “Mr. 3,000” starring the late, great Bernie Mac.

Taking place almost ten years after his final game, Stan Ross comes out of retirement to try and regain his place amongst the 3,000 hits club (three of his hits were taken away due to a calculation error.) One of his new teammates is superstar player Rex “T-Rex” Pennebaker, who is as pompous and arrogant as Ross was back in the day.

After an interview with the media following another loss in which Pennebaker blasts his teammates for not picking up the slack, Ross confronts Pennebaker in the stadium garage afterwards and delivers the quote. The question of “who’s Big Horse Berelli?” comes up and Ross says, “exactly” in a, “you’ll never remember him” kind of way.

This quote has one big purpose: don’t burn your bridges with teammates. You could be the best player in your team but if nobody will celebrate your achievements because they can’t stand you, then what good is it? It’s something that at least once in a sports generation we ultimately see, and what’s crazy is, you’d think people would learn not to be like this, but nope, they do it anyways.

In today’s media driven world especially, it’s easy for players to backtrack and paint themselves out as the good guy whose words were taken out of context at the expense of the writers. Even then players know how their teammates act and who they really are. It’s why you saw more fans making claims and assertions during the recent Jadeveon Clowney situation in Cleveland rather than the players.


“Well, Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is a driver. He is a doer. And that’s what you need to do. You don’t need to think. You need to drive. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And you use it. And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of h***, and then you win, Ricky. You WIN! And you don’t win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a man takes what he wants. He takes it all. And you’re a man, aren’t you?” – Susan, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

The last quote to look at is delivered by Amy Adams in one of the moments before Ricky Bobby makes his return to the Talladega Motor Speedway in Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby. Susan to this point has been nothing but a passed over character that really didn’t get any respect despite being probably the smartest character rooting for Bobby. However, it’s in the bar when Bobby is about to quit and give up on Talladega when she unleashes this heavy quote.

This moment is best described as tough love that Ricky Bobby needed. All his life, he had people pamper and take care of him, to the point that when the real world hit, it came as a culture shock and he wasn’t prepared for it. Even though he wants to give up, he needs to hear this quote, and while what happened next isn’t safe for work, it prompts him to continue his pursuit to come back at Talladega.

This quote seems long, but the big takeaway is that fear is something that can be conquered. At some point in everyone’s life, something they love doing, whether it’s driving, playing a sport, physical activity of any kind, they will have some sort of scare and will refrain from doing it for a while. Eventually they’ll return but sometimes it takes motivation to do it.

In this case, Bobby became afraid of speed, despite being a NASCAR driver for years. While his dad was able to help him regain his love for driving, once his dad leaves again, he breaks down and panics. This quote leads him to his love interest and makes him race for him, and nobody else, mainly because racing is his life and he can’t leave himself. On the surface, it seems like just a quote to lead the two characters to fall in love, but it’s deeper than that when you ultimately consider the situation surrounding the line.

Eric Urbanowicz


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