Dodgeball was nearly ruined by a scene which looks incredibly awkward years later
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We all know the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story as a modern comedy classic, as popular today as it was back in 2004 when it first came out.
Starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, news of a potential sequel this week got plenty of us excited to go back and watch the original one more time.
However, if you do decide to watch it in 2023, you might just notice one very awkward scene with a sporting twist.
The film centers around Vaughn's character, Peter La Fleur, and his efforts to keep his gym (Average Joe's) afloat. Needing to raise $50,000 to do so, Peter with a 'ragtag group' of Average Joe's members and employees enter - you guessed it - a dodgeball contest with a big prize. To his dismay a rival gym, set up by Stiller's character White Goodman, also enter the competition. As a result, hilarity ensues.
Anyway, back to the awkward scene.
The night before the competition final where the two rivals are destined to meet, Peter gets an unexpected visit from White. Spoiler alert here, but White offers to buy his rival's gym for the not-so-bad sum of $100,000, which Peter duly accepts. Heading for the airport to cut and run, the gym owner stumbles across Lance Armstrong of all people - a former seven-time Tour De France winner.
In the year Dodgeball was filmed, Armstrong was one of the world's most famous athletes, having sealed his sixth - and penultimate - TDF yellow jersey that summer. And yet, as we now know, all seven would be stripped in 2013 after the American admitted to doping throughout his illustrious cycling career.
To add to the awkwardness of the airport scene, Armstrong pontificates on the importance of not quitting after Peter admits he walked away from the dodgeball tournament.
"Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life," Armstrong says, before telling Peter he's sure his decision won't haunt him forever.
Maybe he should have just cheated instead, ay Lance?
The scene is certainly a funny one, but with the benefit of hindsight, its hard not to think about the nature of Armstrong's offences, and just how differently he was viewed by the public when the film was first aired.
While Armstrong's own survival of beating testicular cancer in the 1990s is unquestionably inspiring to this day, his words in the movie now ring hollow given all that the world has learned about his character since.
Alongside the doping violations, the 51-year-old was outed by many former friends and colleagues as a bully with a nasty streak.
In the end, the movie's overarching themes of sportsmanship and fair play do still shine through - even if the lead character's main source of inspiration to keep playing didn't exactly abide by those principals himself.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy