Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The One Scene That Nearly Ruined Dodgeball

The 2005 comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," serves up a lot of laughs from a variety of hilarious characters and is among the best sports comedy movies of all time. When slacker Peter Lafleur (Vince Vaughn), owner of the rundown Average Joe's gym, falls behind in his mortgage, he faces foreclosure, much to the delight of rival White Goodman (Ben Stiller). White, whose massive fitness center Globo Gym needs land for a new parking garage, is looking at the Average Joe's property the way a hungry wolf looks at a calf that's wandered away from the herd. As Peter tries to sort out his company's finances with the bank's lawyer, Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor), Average Joe's member Gordon Pibb (Stephen Root) has the crazy idea to form a team and enter the upcoming national dodgeball tournament, which offers $50,000 for the winning team — the exact sum Peter needs to stay afloat.

Of course, a man with an ego the size of White's isn't going to let that happen without a fight; he forms his own team — the Globo Gym Purple Cobras — and enters the competition with the goal of playing spoiler for Average Joe's. One thing neither man could have anticipated is Peter getting a visit from dodgeball legend and former American Dodgeball Association of America champion Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn), who whips the ragtag Average Joe's team into shape with plenty of insults, tough love, and borderline assault. Of course it helps that Kate, newly fired after spurning White's advances, is a former softball player with an absolute cannon of an arm. 

"Dodgeball" features plenty of memorable scenes, including a hilarious performance from Jason Bateman as ESPN 8 color commentator Pepper Brooks. But one sequence in particular could have absolutely tanked the film. Here's the one scene that nearly ruined "Dodgeball."

The Lance Armstrong cameo did not age well at all

The night before the final, with the Average Joe's team set to face Globo Gym for the championship, Peter gets an unexpected visit from his nemesis, White. Rather than leaving things to chance, White offers to buy Average Joe's from Peter for the tidy sum of $100,000. Peter, disheartened over Patches' death earlier in the film, accepts the deal and cuts and runs, leaving without telling anyone on his team. As fate would have it, he runs into seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in the airport and learns the cycling champion is a fan who's been watching the tournament. When Peter tells a confused Lance he's quit the tournament, he responds that he, too, was once thinking of quitting: when he was diagnosed with brain, lung, and testicular cancer. "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," Lance says, before telling Peter he's sure his decision won't haunt him forever.

Make no mistake, the scene is hilarious when considered in a vacuum and no one could ever deny that Lance Armstrong's survival story is truly inspiring. But he'd been plagued by doping allegations for years before his appearance in the 2004 film and years after it came out, the United States Anti-Doping Agency opened an investigation, charging Armstrong with using performance enhancing drugs. He was eventually stripped of his Tour de France wins and banned for life from competing in any sport that complies with the World Anti-Doping Code. Armstrong has candidly detailed his use of PEDs in an ESPN "30 for 30" program. As for "Dodgeball," a film with themes of sportsmanship and fair play, let's just say having someone who would later admit to cheating serving as the lead character's inspiration to get back in the game doesn't exactly send the right message.