For a guy who has battled morbid obesity, Homer J. Simpson has had a surprising amount of experience with the world of sports.
From getting his bell rung in the ring to pinch hitting for Darryl Strawberry, this donut-devouring dad may start every episode of “The Simpsons” by running to the couch, but he never shies away from standing up to a challenge.
Celebrate this immortal sportsman of Springfield’s 61st birthday by reliving just a few of his athletic achievements.
Thanks in part to his friend and faithful bartender Moe’s greed and a condition that more or less gives him a football helmet worth of padding around his skull, Homer became a pugilistic prodigy.
His ability to get repeatedly and directly punched in the head until his opponents would tire out served Homer well, but unfortunately when placed in the ring to square off against Mike Tyson doppelganger Drederick Tatum, his inability to fight nearly killed him.
Thankfully, Moe, a fictional character, turned out to be a better person than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a real human, and literally flew in to save his friend from further abuse.
Though he would initially lead the nuclear power plant’s softball team to victory with his WonderBat — a tree branch that got hit by lightning — ultimately it would again be Homer’s head that would save the day.
Though largely displaced by baseball all-stars such as a brain tonic-addicted Ken Griffey Jr. and Roger Clemens who had been convinced he was a chicken through hypnosis, the time would come for the right-batting Simpson to pinch hit for southpaw-hitting Daryl Strawberry.
Bases loaded, he instead got nailed in the side of the skull, bringing home the winning run.
What do you do if you and your friends need $ 500 just so you can bowl on league night? Steal the money from your drugged up, incredibly old boss.
Together, Moe, Apu, Homer and Otto (as well as Mr. Burns despite what everyone else wanted) became the Pin Pals, facing off against such alley enemies as the Stereotypes and the Holy Rollers.
With the exception of Mr. Burns — who needed Smithers to run down and personally knock over some pins — they all proved themselves capable of leading the lanes.
It wasn’t the first time Homer displayed his pin-pinging prowess, as he once became a local celebrity after bowling a perfect game. Of course, once that fame proves to be evanescent, he tries to kill himself.
Though not technically a sport, you could easily make the case that getting a crowd going by dancing to a song as tame as “Baby Elephant Walk” is a feat greater than any long jump or vaulting of poles.
Dressed up as “Dancin’ Homer,” the head of the Simpson household rose from fan sensation at the minor league baseball team the Springfield Isotopes, debuting on “Nuclear Plant Employee, Spouses and No More Than Three Children Night,” then going on to fill in for the Capital City Goofball and ultimately striking out in the big leagues.
More important than Dancin’ Homer’s comically high socks, bright orange shorts and seemingly unnecessary suspenders is the fact that his family stood by him throughout the entire journey and he got a great story to tell back at Moe’s Tavern.
While Marge was busy making what would be a heartbreaking effort to get her family accepted into high society, Homer was challenging Mr. Burns on the links.
As we saw in the bowling alley, the grossly overweight bald baron of beer is a true sportsman at least in comparison to his 123-years-young boss, who again requires the aid of Smithers to have any sort of success.
The episode ends with Homer agreeing to let Mr. Burns beat him so that his family can gain entry into the country club and Marge realizing she’s alienated her loved ones at the expense of impressing strangers, but in no way is any of this sadder than the discovery that Lee Carvallo, star of Bart’s least favorite video game “Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge,” is not actually a real person.
Lee Carvallo has never existed.