Created By: ikelos on February 23, 2012 Last Edited By: ikelos on February 25, 2012

Last Inning Stretcher

A character has a condition that will get worse if he plays, however he chosses to play

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Trope
"The big game is here. Bob and his underdog team are facing the mighty champions led by Alice. The game starts with Alice easily succeeding, but as the game goes on she starts to act weird: losing her breath, running slowly and even clutching her chest. Alice is playing with a disease. In most cases she knows how bad the situation is and is well aware of the fact that if she keeps playing she might suffer a Game-Breaking Injury or something even worse. Nonetheless she does not leave the game. Maybe her team will lose without her, maybe she want to finish her career with a blaze of glory, maybe she really wants to face Bob on the field or maybe there is someone special in the audience and she does not want to disappoint them. The point is that Alice will play to the very bitter end.

This trope is used to show that the character loves the sport so much that they are willing to die playing it, variants include.

  • A Complete Monster coach will force the character to play while completely aware that he will snap eventually.

  • While the player and coach both know that the player isn't in perfect condition, no one is fully aware just how serious the player's medical condition is until it's already too late.

Of course the death of the character is not necessary and he could even get better. Usually comes with Don't You Dare Pity Me!, Ill Boy and Determinator. It can be a Drama-Preserving Handicap.

Examples

-Anime and Manga
  • Inazuma Eleven:
    • The darker variant is played by Mac Roneijo, the coach of his team forces him to be the test rat of the RH program. a super soldier serum with a ton of nasty secondary effects, it's implied that continued use would had caused some serius permanent damage on him.
    • Played straight with Amemiya Taiyou in go he has a heart disease and chooses to play because he wants to face temna, he starts to feel the pressure near the end of the first time and needs help from his teammates to keep on in the second half.
  • Captain Tsubasa: Jun Misugi's place as the captain and strategist of his team makes him both irreplaceable and indispensable. He decides to play in the semifinal even after his doctor explains him that another match could put too much pressure on his already weakened heart, risking his life.

-Films-Live Action
  • In The Wrestler the main character has a heart condition but still insists on participating in the wrestling match that is to be his comeback.
  • In Varsity Blues the coach insists that an injured player goes back on the field even though it is likely to cripple the kid.
  • In The Natural Roy Hobbs finds out that a bullet left in his body after a shooting has over the years caused so much damage that if he plays baseball again it might kill him. He still insists on playing in the crucial final game of the season.
  • In The Champ Andy Purcell participates in a boxing match to get money even though he knows another bout could kill him.

-Real Life
  • Kerry Von Erich had a broken foot, but as part of an angle he had to go to the ring. He got a walking cast and his father shot him up with novacaine. He ended up having to have his foot amputated.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • February 23, 2012
    nielas
    • In The Wrestler the main character has a heart condition but still insists on participating in the wrestling match that is to be his comeback.

    • In Varsity Blues the coach insists that an injured player goes back on the field even though it is likely to cripple the kid.
  • February 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Real Life: Kerry Von Erich had a broken foot, but as part of an angle he had to go to the ring. He got a walking cast and his father shot him up with novacaine. He ended up having to have his foot amputated.
  • February 23, 2012
    nielas
    • In The Natural Roy Hobbs finds out that a bullet left in his body after a shooting has over the years caused so much damage that if he plays baseball again it might kill him. He still insists on playing in the crucial final game of the season.
  • February 23, 2012
    ikelos
    Could you tell me if the article is well-written, or does the wording need some correction?
  • February 23, 2012
    SKJAM
    If English is not your first language, I recommend the "Help With English" thread in the forums. If English is your first language, then yes, it needs a lot of work.
  • February 23, 2012
    Waterlily
    Another real life example is Charlie Gardiner of the Chicago Blackhawks.

    The title character in The Champ participates in a boxing match to get money even though he knows another bout could kill him.
  • February 23, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    A third variant that occasionally occurs in Real Life is that while the player and coach both know that the player isn't in perfect condition, no one is fully aware just how serious the player's medical condition is, and it comes as a surprise to everyone when they collapse.

    Not sure if you want to include that, though.
  • February 23, 2012
    ikelos
    interesting thanks for the ideas and the support
  • February 24, 2012
    Arivne
    ikelos/OP: I have re-written the description in an attempt to improve it and placed it below.

    "The big game is here. Bob and his underdog team are facing the mighty champions led by Alice. The game starts with Alice easily succeeding, but as the game goes on she starts to act weird: losing her breath, running slowly and even clutching her chest. Alice is playing with a disease. In most cases she knows how bad the situation is and is well aware of the fact that if she keeps playing she might suffer a Game Breaking Injury or something even worse. Nonetheless she does not leave the game. Maybe her team will lose without her, maybe she really wants to face Bob on the field or maybe there is someone special in the audience and she does not want to disappoint them. The point is that Alice will play to the very bitter end.

    This trope is used to show that the character loves the sport so much that they are willing to die playing it. There is also a darker variant where a Complete Monster coach will force the character to play while completely aware that he will snap eventually. Of course the death of the character is not necessary and he could even get better. Usually comes with Dont You Dare Pity Me, Ill Boy and Determinator. It can be a Drama Preserving Handicap.
  • February 24, 2012
    ikelos
    It looks really good, thanks Arivne. if any of you guys have a better idea for the name don't be shy and post it.
  • February 24, 2012
    pawsplay
  • February 24, 2012
    Irrisia
    The Chariot social link in Persona3 (as long as you're playing the male protagonist) is Kazushi, a fellow member of the sports team. He's got knee problems that might end up crippling him, but won't tell anyone so he can still go to the team championships. Subverted at the end, when, at your character's urging, he does drop out of the tournament in order to get his knee fixed.
  • February 24, 2012
    MorganWick
    For some reason I thought this was a Bad Snowclone of Playing With A Trope.
  • February 25, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I thought so to.
  • February 25, 2012
    ikelos
    i kind of like Last Inning stretcher
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=zk0xdfemwde02yk3ibkj4dqa