The All Time Greatest Conflicts in Literature and Their Sports Equivalent

The problem with being a huge sports fan and an English teacher is I have difficulty separating the two. When I watch sports I imagine conflicts in literature. When I read about conflicts in literature, I think about sports.

I think it’s time to merge the two.

All Time Greatest Conflicts in Literature

General Zaroff invites you to discover which sports team he represents.

Ender Wiggin (Ender’s Game) is the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers combined with the 1985 Chicago Bears.

I once posted a comparison of Ender Wiggin and Jimmer Fredette. That’s 600 words I’ll never get back. I did update it to include the emergence of then Kansas star Andrew Wiggins.

A better comparison would be to the last undefeated professional football team and the last undefeated college basketball team. Ender never lost. He killed Stilson with a kick to the chest, defeated every single army in Battle School, destroyed Bonzo Madrid with a head butt, and annihilated an entire race of aliens.

The thoroughness of his victories is reminiscent of the trail of destruction left by the 1985 Bears, but since they lost a game, they cannot stake a claim to the majesticness of Ender Wiggin

You don’t mess with Ender Wiggin.

Lennie Smalls (Of Mice and Men) is the 2007 New England Patriots, 1991 UNLV Rebels, and the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats.

Go Rebels!

Much like these famed juggernaut athletic squads, Lennie Smalls destroyed everything in his path. Lennie kills a mouse in chapter 1, treating it much like Larry Johnson treated a weak PCAA team in 1991. He then throws his soon-to-be-dead puppy across the barn and buries it under a heap of hay, much in the same way Tom Brady threw footballs to Randy Moss while burying opponents in 2007.

He then broke Curly’s wife’s neck, much like the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats broke the spirit of its opponents with power and authority.

In the end, however, Lennie and these indestructible teams were blindsided. UNLV, Kentucky, and New England were picked off by plucky underdogs they had defeated in the past.

And Lennie?–he was blindsided in the back of the head by a bullet from a stolen Luger pistol.

Sanger Rainsford (The Most Dangerous Game) is the 2011 Dallas Mavericks and the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Go Bucks!

Nobody believed in the 2011 Dallas Mavericks. They were going against the mighty Miami Heat with NBA superstars Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Up 1-0, the Heat looked to be in firm control, even celebrating prematurely after hitting a big shot to go up big, prompting yours truly to turn off the TV in disgust, only to discover the following day that Dallas had won the game. The overconfident Heat eventually lost the series.

Nobody believed in the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes (well, I did). They were down to their third string quarterback and had fallen behind by two touchdowns early against national juggernaut Alabama. With their backs against the wall, the Buckeyes rallied and went on to win the game. One game later, they fell behind a favored Oregon team, and despite committing 4 turnovers, surprised the college football world and won the championship in dominating fashion.

Sanger Rainsford was a huge underdog to General Zaroff–the odds in Vegas were 6-1 in favor of Zaroff. Zaroff had home-island advantage, a gun, a pack of hounds, and a ridiculously large assistant, but Rainsford takes advantage of Zaroff’s overconfidence (and boredom (2015 Kentucky basketball, perhaps?)), and with his back to the sea rallied to meet Zaroff at his mansion, kill him, and feed him to his own dogs.

Odysseus is the 2015 Seattle Seahawks.

Stay classy, Seattle!

The Seattle Seahawks were in control of the 2015 Superbowl. Doug Baldwin had just scored a touchdown, giving Seattle a 24-14 lead, and celebrated by pooping a football and drawing a 15-yard penalty. Meanwhile, Richard Sherman was pointing to the camera, referencing the score and the number of the defensive back who had given up the touchdown.

What the Seahawks should have been doing was being a tad more humble as New England stormed back for one of the greatest Super Bowl comebacks in history.

Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut! Now, however, would be a good time to tell you about this 7-week ready-to-use unit I made for The Odyssey.

Odysseus has seemingly defeated the Cyclops Polyphemus. He pokes the creature’s eye out, rallies his men, and escapes to his ship. But that isn’t enough. Instead of sailing off to freedom and home, he has to talk trash to the defeated one-eyed giant. This bit of trash-talking and attention-to-himself drawing escapade reveals Odysseus’ name to the Cyclops, who happens to be the son of Poseidon, the sea god, who avenges his son by causing Odysseus to not return home for 10 years.

Seattle may not get another Superbowl for ten years. Although you could make the case that Odysseus wins many battles after this and perhaps so will the classless, arrogant Seahawks.

Mathilde Loisel (The Necklace) is the Dallas Cowboys of the last decade.

All Mathilde Loisel cares about is having the nicest of everything, even if it means sacrificing happiness. Her haughty arrogance eventually leads to her undoing after losing a priceless necklace (which turns out to be a fake), causing her many years of disappointment.

The Dallas Cowboys have been more concerned with looking good–brand new stadium, big names–than actually putting together a championship caliber team.

OK, it’s your turn.

I’m guessing you all have some good comparisons when it comes to the all-time greatest literature conflicts. Leave a comment below.

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