Sports Briefs: The Wizard of Oz Casting

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Chris: Had I played college basketball for UCLA in the 1970s, gone to a St. Louis Cardinals game in the 1980s or watched Washington’s NBA team since 1997, I would have eagerly taken advantage of the opportunity to display my cleverness by singing “I’m Off to See the Wizard.”

Joe: In a somewhat bizarre interpretation of the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” the greed of the new world is represented by the characters. So, too, sports is much like the movie, because, at the end of the day, the greed of professional sports overshadows the journey of the athletes. (Not recommended reading for anyone under age 6.)

Brad: Playing sports is like a journey. Even if you are born with athletic abilities, you still have a long road of practicing and learning while you play the sport. There are challenges along the way and obstacles to your goal. During a game, your obstacles are other players. During a season, your obstacles are other teams. In the movie, Dorothy has to work with the others to get them all to their goal of meeting the Wizard and getting their wishes. On a team, you have to work with your teammates to win the game and win the season.

Ralphie: “The Wizard of Oz” is similar to sports because both are full of lots of unusual characters, have many unpredictable events, and give lots of people much more respect that regular people deserve.

Chris: Fortunately, neither John Wooden or Ozzie Smith were whisked away in a hot air balloon or devious enough to con the vertically-challenged residents of the Emerald City. But if “The Wizard of Oz” was cast with figures from the sports world, NFL Films has first dibs to film it.

Ralphie: Pat Summitt is the best choice for Auntie Em. She's a tough lady like Auntie Em, but she's still a mom and a lady. Thanks, Grandpa, for helping me with this. I had never heard of Pat Summitt before.

Brad: Mary Lou Retton is a great choice to play Glinda the Good Witch. Mary Lou is such a wholesome and positive athlete and a great role model. She would be perfect to lead Dorothy and the gang on the path to the Wizard.

Chris: Dorothy's house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East. Then, Dorothy pilfered the expired witch's ruby slippers. The late witch's sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, wanted her shoes back. If this was a Nike commercial, this is where Mars Blackmon would appear, spouting, "It's gotta be the shoes!" Given Spike Lee's diminutive stature, his character is awarded the role of Mayor of Munchkinland, which is also inhabited by fellow munchkins Spud Webb, Muggsy Bogues and Earl Boykins, who could easily comprise the Lollipop Guild.

Joe: Wicked Witch of the West, the money-handlers of the new world would best be played by an ensemble cast of NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA owners.

Ralphie: Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, and Les Miles are the best choices for the Flying Monkeys because they're not very nice people, and they really only care about winning.

Brad: Ben Roethlisberger would be a good choice for the Scarecrow, because he is kind of goofy and doesn't always think before he does things.

Chris: The role of the apple-throwing trees is not one of the more highly sought-after parts, but there is only one man suitable for said role. I don't know how well he hurls fruit, but former NBA center Tree Rollins more than makes up for it in stature.

Joe: The Tin Man--the heartless, emotionless robot would best be played by Commissioner Goodell.

Ralphie: Joe Paterno is the best choice for the Cowardly Lion because he knew about what Jerry Sandusky was doing to hurt all of those boys, but he didn't get rid of Sandusky.

Brad: Really, any mascot from any team could play Toto, because Toto is the faithful, loyal companion. Even when he got kidnapped by the flying monkeys, he still was loyal to Dorothy. Any team mascot would be the same way, so it would be hard to pick just one to play the part. Mascots cheer for their teams and cause funny distractions.

Chris: The main character of Dorothy Gale needs to be played by someone with long hair. And preferably a young lady, should Clay Matthews III want the part. She needs to be capable of leading, following a path, being strong enough not to give up her shoes and being comfortable as the only female in her work environment. The Yellow Brick Road sounds like a course Danica Patrick should have no problem conquering, and she’s also capable of changing oil, which is a plus, considering she’s traveling with the Tin Man.

Joe: The Wizard--the fraud would best be played by Dennis Rodman.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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