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Kyle Wellwood: One of my hefty heroes

Mar 10, 2010, 5:00 PM EST

david wells.jpgFor most people, the Marc Savard concussion/Matt Cooke non-suspension is the story of the week. I have to admit, though, that Kyle Wellwood’s blubbery embrace is the kind of trailblazing moment that deserves more discussion. The Vancouver Sun spoke to Wellwood, who admitted that he probably plays a little better when there’s more of him to love.

I would also guess that “Wellfed” must have been frustrated from hearing all of the fat jokes when he wasn’t fat anymore. I mean, he’s basically a one-man Internet meme generator (take for instance: the #KyleWellwoodisSoFat thread on Twitter). You may look at Wellwood as a mediocre forward or an easy punchline but I look at him as something different.

I look at him as a hero.

Indeed, we all need role models and considering the evolution of sports into year-long jobs and glorified body building competitions, it’s quaint and wonderful to see the misshapen gain some success too. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of the most successful fatties in recent sports history (Babe Ruth was an all-time great, but come on. Baseball players used to be chain smokers and worked full-time jobs on the side. It’s more impressive to be a chunky athlete now.)


Hockey has two other prominently plump players: Martin Brodeur and Keith Tkachuk. Both have had wildly successful careers, with Brodeur defying shapely logic by being an iron man with a soft gut.

Sure, it’s easier for a baseball player – especially a pitcher – to get away with being chubby but that doesn’t stop it from being funny. Prince Fielder is one of his sport’s best sluggers, C.C. Sabathia won a World Series despite having a brontosaurus neck and David Wells pitched a perfect game with a hangover and the body of a bowler.

Obviously, the NFL has its offensive and defensive linemen. Even basketball had its superstar sumos in the form of “The Round Mound of Rebound” Charles Barkley and the perpetually overweight Shaq.

Let’s get to the meat of this lesson: Wellwood and players of his expansive ilk show that you don’t have to be svelte to succeed in sports. Keep that in mind the next time you laugh at old lardy right up until you get passed by.

  1. Opiated Sherpa - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Ha ha ha… that’s pretty well said. I think the best thing about the Kyle Wellwood fat jokes are kind of refreshing, when you can consider making fun of him for being a bad ex-Maple Leafs player.

  2. Alan Smithee - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    So let me get this straight. You name-check Marty Brodeur, arguably the greatest goalie of all time if not his generation, and Keith Tkachuk, one of the greatest American-born players of all time. And Kyle Wellwood is your hero?!

  3. James O'Brien - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Allan,
    You make a good point, but I tried living up to childhood role models like Mario Lemieux and realized that I just can’t compare. So now I make sure that my role models have a lower ceiling ;)

  4. hildymac - Mar 10, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    Hey, now, Walter’s lost weight! Well… I’m sure missing 5 teeth helped. Talk about an un-subtle hint from Oshie.
    Somebody get that man a puddin’ cup!

  5. James O'Brien - Mar 10, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    “I’m sure missing 5 teeth helped” hahaha. That’s awesome.

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