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Unlikely Heroes

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Unlikely Heroes


There’s nothing like being amongst a massive group of athletes to remind me that I’ll never represent New Zealand in anything (maybe lawn bowls, but even they’re quite fit). 

There was once a time where 70kg men like myself could dream of representing their country, just look at former All Black winger Terry Wright for example.  But these days, that just doesn’t cut it. Look at the backline the ABs are going to put out against England this weekend: Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear.  All massive men over 100kgs. 

Cricket’s perhaps one sport where unfit men can still make the grade.  Jesse Ryder immediately comes to mind, but even he’s been off the piss for 100 days.  So in honour of an age gone by when boozers, fatties, and smokers could represent their country, I’ve come up with a list of my favourite unlikely sports heroes.

Rod Latham

Rod Latham
The only picture I could find.

The portly figure of Latham was so unlikely, that even finding a proper image of him using google is near-impossible.  Not only did Latham become a hero for the Black Caps during the 1992 World Cup, but he was also a legend of Canterbury rugby, playing several seasons at first-five for the red ‘n blacks.

Grant Batty
Grant Batty
Caricatures are awesome.

Batty was only 165cm tall and 70kgs, but was one of the best wingers New Zealand’s produced, not to mention sporting one of the country’s best-ever moustaches.  The little man from Greytown may’ve been small, but had a monstrous heart on a rugby paddock, and a temper to boot.

Puig Aubert
Puig Aubert
The only man to ever outplay Clive Churchill.

Not too many people know about the French rugby league fullback, but he’s my favourite unlikely hero of all time.  Aubert would smoke on the field during matches and often refuse to tackle opposition players that broke through the defensive line, choosing instead to let rip at his own players for missing the tackle.  During half time breaks he was known to drink up to three glasses of red wine, and after scoring tries would occasionally leave a small hand written poem behind the opposing team's goal line designed to infuriate them.  He led the French team to a 1951 series where he kicked 18 out of 18 goals. 


There’s plenty of former sports stars that fit the “unlikely” tag.  Any of your nominations are appreciated.

John Day
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Puig Albert is amazing.
9/12/2010 1:57:06 p.m.

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