Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed in “Creed.” File photo by Warner Bros. Pictures

With Thanksgiving officially kicking off the holiday season, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time with family in the coming weeks. Why dig up long forgotten family squabbles or bicker about politics when you can argue over the really important stuff?

With that, I give you a list. People love lists. We’ll rank anything, then fight over it. This is a list of the top 10 fictional athletes. I only had a couple rules. The person had to use his or her skills in athletics. While Clark Kent or Peter Parker would be phenomenal athletes, Superman and Spider-Man saved the world, not the Super Bowl. Also, the laws of physics must be obeyed. As amazing as Bugs Bunny was when he beat the Gashouse Gorillas single-handily, it doesn’t count for these purposes.

Honorable mentions: Shane Falco, Kelly Leak, Sam Malone, Dottie Hinson, Willie Mays Hays, Rick Vaughn, Ricky Bobby, Ernie McCracken, Maggie Fitzgerald, Paul Crewe (the Burt Reynolds version, not the ludicrous Adam Sandler version), Happy Gilmore (this ludicrous Adam Sandler athlete is OK), Adam Banks, Nuke LaLoosh, Crash Davis.

10. Ty Webb

Far and away the best golfer in the history of “Caddyshack’s” Bushwood Country Club. There’s no doubt Webb could have been a strong professional player, if he only had a little ambition and drive. Webb on the pro tour would’ve been a much better sequel than the limp “Caddyshack 2.” Around Bushwood, they’re still talking about that epic match, when Webb and Danny Noonan beat Dr. Beeper and Judge Smails.

9. Jimmy Chitwood

We all know a Jimmy Chitwood. The supremely confident athlete who knows exactly what he or she can do. Chitwood’s game-winning shot at the end of “Hoosiers” is the most clutch moment in the history of movies. Without Chitwood, the 1954 Hickory High boys basketball team doesn’t get out of districts, never mind beat the big city boys from South Bend Central.

8. Forrest Gump

Not only was Gump an All-America kick returner at the University of Alabama in the 1960s, he ran coast to coast the way you or I would jog laps on the local track. He also played a mean game of ping pong. Gump did this all while fighting a sad addiction to Dr. Pepper.

7. Neon Boudeaux

As seen in the movie “Blue Chips,” the star big man was a difference maker for the Western University Dolphins. A recruiting scandal cut Boudeaux’s college career short, but he went on to play in the NBA. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Shaquille O’Neal.

6. Reg Dunlop

As the player/coach, Dunlop was the heart and soul of the Charleston Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League. Yes, the Hanson Brothers were strong all-around players and good in a fight, and Ned Braden was a pure goal scorer, but Dunlop held the team together all the way to the championship. He was a born leader.

5. Willie Beamen

When the top two quarterbacks were lost to injury, it looked as if it would be a lost season for the Miami Sharks. Then, Beamen entered the lineup, and coach Tony D’Amato realized he had a new franchise quarterback. While he and D’Amato clashed at times, Beamen gained the trust of the coach and his teammates. When Cap Rooney was injured again, Beamen once again came off the bench to lead the Sharks in the Associated Football Franchises of America playoffs.

4. Rod Tidwell

The star receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, Tidwell enjoyed a solid NFL career. Tidwell’s career seemed in jeopardy after he sustained a vicious hit in a Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he recovered and his agent Jerry Maquire negotiated a large contract with the Cardinals.

3. Roy Hobbs

Whether you know Hobbs from Bernard Malamud’s novel “The Natural” or Robert Redford’s portrayal in the movie, there’s no question his baseball skills are off the charts. One has to wonder, if Hobbs had not lost all those years recovering from wounds suffered when he was shot by Harriet Bird, how good could he have been? Redford’s movie gives Hobbs a happier ending than Malamud’s novel. Either way, Hobbs is the best player in New York Knights history, and would be in Cooperstown if not for his association with gamblers.

2. Rocky Balboa

Heavyweight champion of the world. Balboa’s two fights against Apollo Creed are classics. After slacking off and training poorly for a bout with Clubber Lang, Balboa rediscovered his passion for boxing and regained his title by defeating Lang in the rematch. Somehow, Balboa’s fight against Ivan Drago in Moscow on Christmas Day 1986 helped end the Cold War.

1. Sidd Finch

Finch’s story was told by George Plimpton in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated. A pitching prospects with the New York Mets, Finch practiced yoga, pitched wearing one boot, and had a fastball that touched 168 miles per hour. Finch was unhittable.

There you go. When you’re sitting around the fire this holiday season and you’re crazy uncle brings up those fat cats in Washington, you can counter with this list. When you tell him Rocky Balboa is obviously a better athlete than Reg Dunlop, duck when he throws his glass of eggnog.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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