10 things: The best animals in sports

Sports are known for many things: Upset victories, legendary players, and championship glory. But what really matters are the cute, loveable animals behind some of the greatest moments in sports history. Here are The McGill Tribune’s picks for the top 10 best animals in sports. 


Atom and Humber

Chilean footballer Alexis Sánchez has a small family of pets. Most famous are his dogs Atom and Humber, who have their own Instagram account. These golden retrievers appear to lead very busy lives with tough training and travel schedules, but Sánchez can always count on them to support him every game day. 

Rally Possum

The Cleveland Browns’ Rally Possum is not the only possum to bring good luck to a North American sports franchise, but this creature is arguably the best at spreading good fortune. Rally Possum’s appearance in the stands at a Browns home game in 2018 broke a 635-day losing streak. That’s powerful. 

San Antonio Bats

It was just a normal mid-season game for the San Antonio Spurs when, suddenly, five bats swooped down from the rafters in a coordinated effort to stop play. The last time this happened to the Spurs’ Manu Ginóbili, he savagely swiped a bat out of the air with his bare hands. Fortunately for bat lovers everywhere, he has since retired, allowing our winged nocturnal friends to be caught and later released by professionals.

Jo Pawvelski

In 2016, a three-month-old black kitten made her Stanley Cup Playoff debut in the San Jose Sharks’ arena. The kitten was quickly dubbed Jo Pawvelski, after then-Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, and became an unofficial second mascot for the team. Jo was later adopted by Sharks forward Patrick Marleau. 

Flambo and the Habs

In December 2018, the Montreal Canadiens adopted a Saint-Pierre Labernese named Flambo in partnership with the Mira Foundation, an organization that trains service dogs. Unfortunately, medical issues prevented Flambo from becoming a service dog, but he remains with the Canadiens and can be seen at home games and is featured on Instagram.

Tee-retrieving good boys

NCAA football may not be for everyone, but tee-retrieving dogs could be. These adorable helpers dash onto the field and bring the kicker’s tee back to the sideline after kickoffs. Boise State’s Cowboy Kohl is perhaps the most famous tee-retriever, but other good boys include New Mexico State’s Striking and UC Davis’ Pint.  

The Cubs’ black cat curse

On Sept. 9, 1969, a black cat added itself to the list of Chicago Cubs curses. The Cubs, 61 years into their World Series drought, held a oneandahalfgame lead over the New York Mets. But during a game in New York, a black cat waltzed toward the visiting dugout and looked Cubs manager Leo Durocher in the eyes before disappearing. Chicago missed the playoffs for the next 15 years.

Paul the Octopus

Paul the Octopus was perhaps the only successful English talent at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The eight-limbed oracle accurately predicted the winner of eight World Cup games, including the final, by floating over the correct food box. The clairvoyant octopus passed away in 2010, but for the two-and-a-half years he spent on earth, Paul did what many humans never could: He made a million dreams come true.

The Bakersfield Condor

A condor, the second largest flying bird in the world and the foolishly-picked symbol of a Bakersfield hockey team, demanded freedom to the rallying cry of the Star Spangled Banner during a game in 2013. After multiple escape attempts, the devastation of its handler’s reputation, and the successful intimidation of the Condors’ players, the bird headed down the tunnel toward the locker room and out to freedom. 

Trolley Boy

Trolley Boy captured our hearts when he brought the story of the famed racehorse Secretariat to the big screen. His undeniable athletic prowess, incredible acting ability, and uncanny resemblance to Secretariat more than honours the legacy of the legend. With such a stirring performance, Trolley Boy has fashioned himself into a legend as well. 

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