->''"This song is dedicated to every kid who ever got picked last in gym class."''
-->-- '''GoodCharlotte''', "Little Things"

A common phenomenon in gym class.

Whenever two captains are elected from a group of kids to pick teammates from the remaining kids (be it for dodgeball, basketball, baseball or any other team sport), the ones who are the least talented, most nerdy or simply staggeringly unpopular are ''always'' the ones left to pick from last, but a very special type of humiliation is always reserved for the very last kid remaining. "PickedLast" isn't even a fitting term for what this really entails [[FridgeLogic as the kid isn't actually "picked" by a team but rather is forced to be taken by one because there's no one else left to pick from]].

This almost always happens to any {{Geek}} characters when the story focuses on a recreational activity. If this is supposed to be observed as a [[ComedicSociopathy comedic]] event, it may be the fate of a RidiculouslyAverageGuy who is [[ButtMonkey somehow less preferable to the geek]], or, even more humiliating, that bit of FridgeLogic in the above paragraph is disregarded with the captains choosing players that aren't even supposed to be choices when only one kid is left; this may include [[AdultsAreUseless adults]] or [[CompanionCube inanimate objects]].

Usually, this character may be TheWoobie, especially if it's clear that he really ''likes'' the sport even though he may lack any real talent, effectively taking the fun out of the game for him when he's left to be PickedLast. In these cases, the character may be given [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming a moment to shine in the spotlight]] by the end of the story by becoming a team captain for a day and getting to do the actual picking, by making a great play in the game, or even both. Sadly, this may be the one aspect of the trope's overall use in fiction that isn't TruthInTelevision.
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! Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In ''CubixRobotsForEveryone'', Dr. K spitefully notes how he was picked "dead last" for every tri-ball game he ever played in.
* Because Kisaragi in ''Manga/GAGeijutsukaArtDesignClass'' is [[{{dojikko}} so clumsy]], she had this treatment even when it's ''badminton'' they're playing.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' comic "Gym Time", the last two people to be picked are Mai and Zuko, and Azula chooses Mai. However, since all the teams are filled, [[PlayingATree Zuko becomes the ball]].
* ''{{Spider-Man}}'' comics suggest this happened to Peter Parker a lot, unsurprisingly. The "Skin Deep" story shows one of the few cases where this didn't happen to him, because the class had an even more obvious target for once.
* The ''TwistedToyfareTheatre'' version of the ''ComicBook/SecretWars'' storyline had team captains Spider-Man and Dr. Doom select their teams from the heroes/villains/whatever the Beyonder brought to his island. Doom has the second-to-last pick, and the only ones left are a young paraplegic boy and his hated enemy Reed Richards. Naturally, Doom chooses the kid, leaving Richards angry and humiliated.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/LittleGiants'': Not so much picked last but rather not being picked at all which kickstarts the plot. While for some of the characters it was understandable (Can't run very fast, can't catch the ball, afraid to take a hit, etc). One of the characters doesn't get picked simply because she's a girl despite the fact she's more than qualified to be on the team.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* While he attended Muggle primary school, ''Literature/HarryPotter'' was always picked last, but not because he wasn't any good. Nobody wanted Dudley's gang to think they liked him and end up getting beaten up for it.
* Referenced several times in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/UnseenAcademicals''.
--> '''Ridcully:''' Now we all understand this! It's a boy thing! It's like little girls and the colour pink! You know how to do this! Pick the teams alternately so one of you ends up with the weird kid and the other with the fat kid. Some of the fastest mathematics of all time have been achieved by team captains trying not to end up with the weird kid - stay where you are, Rincewind!
** Also mentioned in ''Discworld/SoulMusic''. Susan is always picked last despite her very patiently telling everyone what a great player she is and how much sense it would make for them to pick her (and actually being ''right''). She can't quite figure out why they don't catch on.
** A non-sports example in ''Discworld/{{Mort}}'': At the hiring fair, Mort is still waiting to be apprenticed at midnight, long after the walleyed kid with the stoop has been chosen by the local begger.
* Raistlin from the {{Dragonlance}} series apparently had this happen to him (due to his frailness) whenever he tried to play physical games with his twin brother and his friends. He eventually just stopped playing with them.
* In ''Literature/ADrizzleOfEducation'', Drizzle is picked last in gym class back at her old school.
* The very last scene of ''Loser'' by Jerry Spinelli sees the main character, whose only defining attribute is the fact that he always loses, being picked last. Ironically, he isn't supposed to be picked at all, as the two teams are even, and the antagonist is actually taking pity on him by allowing him on the team.
* Referenced by Bartiameus in ''Ptolemy's Gate'', the third book of ''TheBartimaeusTrilogy'', when he states that the plotting magicians were the ones that if you picked sides for soccer would be "standing at the end, next to the fat kid and the one with the plaster cast."
* In the body of a Deinonychus and trying to blend with the pack, Will Reilly of ''{{Literature/Dinoverse}}'' sees that the pack leaders are picking "teams" to go out and find food. He's quite affronted to be one of the last picked - in his human life he was extremely popular.
* In ''The Fire Chronicle'' from ''[[Literature/TheBooksOfBeginning The Books of Beginning]]'', Michael Wibberly is described as always having been picked last at sports, and then, "only if the other team took some handicap, like playing a turtle at first base."

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* On ''TheBigBangTheory'', after Penny and Leonard break up, Sheldon is asked whether he's on "Team Penny" or "Team Leonard." He answers, "Whichever team picks last," since that's how it happened when he was in high school (unless there was a kid in a wheelchair).
* Bill from ''FreaksAndGeeks'' had a history of being picked last. This actually drove him to ''prank call his gym teacher!'' After his teacher finds out he was the one who made the call, Bill is [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming awarded the opportunity to captain a team for a day]].
* An early episode of ''TheWonderYears'' had the final two kids left to pick from being Paul Pfiefer and another student played by [[HilariousInHindsight Dustin]] [[SavedByTheBell Diamond]] on numerous occasions. The episode's main focus, however, was on Paul's love for playing basketball and sheer lack of ability, which would make him one of the most undesirable players to have on a team. Kevin's protests to Coach Cutlip about how unfair the captain system is have the adverse affect of earning him a spot as a team captain. He decides use his position to pick all of the least talented kids for his team. This also led to a kid with a noticeably athletic build being the last pick, behind a nerd who was half his size.
* In the final episode of each season of ''HellsKitchen'', the two finalists get to pick who will cook for them during the final service from a selection of contestants that were eliminated previously. Expect whichever chef is picked last to require some serious soothing to their ego, if they just don't outright phone it in during the service. The prize for the final challenge is usually getting first pick of the returning chefs, meaning that you avoid getting the last pick as well. Though this doesn't guarantee 100% that the ''second''-to-last pick isn't going to be bitter either.
** Also happens on the similar show ''Masterchef'', where, for team challenges, the two team captains choose their cooks. The last person picked always gets a ConfessionCam shot immediately after being picked with how they reacted to being picked last. Some shrug it off, some take it personally, and a couple get indignant and pissy, even if they performed the worst in the challenge to determine the team captains or have a record of poorly cooked dishes.
* On ''HannahMontana'', this happens to Miley in every gym class and is the setup for the episode "Cuffs Will Keep Us Together." As her alter-ego, Hannah Montana, she has the coordination to dance on stage (sometimes in high heels and usually while singing, no less), but when it comes to sports, she's unable to do things like catch a ball [[TheKlutz without using her face]].
* Inverted on the second season of ''Worst Cooks In America'', where the two hosts picked the teams for ''each other''. Both were deliberately trying to saddle their rival with the worst of the worst. The last one chosen commented on this in a ConfessionCam, saying they chose to take this as a compliment... while [[LampshadeHanging Lampshading]] the fact they were still apparently "the best of the worst".
* In a casual basketball game in ''TheFamousJettJackson'', J.B. gave up and left when a kid with a broken arm was picked ahead of him.
* Happens to Rachel in the ''{{Friends}}'' episode "The One With the Football".
* ''FamilyMatters'': In the Season 3 episode "Making the Team," Urkel is demoted from the last man on the bench of a basketball team ... to water boy. However, when during a game every available substitute is injured and the team is down to just four players (and Eddie, one of the last players standing, reminds the coach that if he forfeits, he could be fired), the coach is forced to turn to the nerd. Urkel prepared for the moment doffs his nerdy clothes to reveal his uniform, and displaying amazing athletic ability, engineers an amazing comeback to win the game. (Jaleel White's real-life passion for basketball was later written in to several episodes about Urkel's "mysterious" basketball ability.)
* ''PairOfKings'': Before any team captain would pick either of the titular Kings at school, they'd pick the girl walking on crutches and the janitor.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* Along with the page quote, 2 Skinnee J's song "Riot Nrrrd" is dedicated to "all you lonely kids who were the last picked in gym classes."
* The Peter, Paul, And Mary song "Right Field".
--> "We'd pick out the captains and we'd choose up the teams,
--> It was always a measure of my self esteem.
--> Cause the fastest, the strongest played shortstop and first,
--> The last ones they picked were the worst."
** By the end of the song, the kid narrator stranded out in [[TitleDrop right field]] manages to [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming catch a fly ball on a big play]].
* From the Skee-Lo song "I Wish":
-->"Cause when it comes to playing basketball,
--> I'm always last to be picked,
--> And in some cases never picked at all."
* Mentioned in the Music/WeirdAlYankovic song "That Boy Could Dance", whose title character is totally inept at everything in life except dancing.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''MagicalDiary'', if you tell Ellen that she doesn't ''have'' to sign up for the Sports Club, she gets annoyed and mentions that people were never eager to pick her for their team, even when she was really good at the sport in question. However, it doesn't seem to have been quite as bad as "always last".
* How you start off in ''[[VideoGame/TonyHawksUnderGround Tony Hawk's Underground 2]]'': before the World Destruction Tour starts, Tony and Bam Margera start picking their team members. Since you're the least experienced of the pros they got (Bam even calls you a noob), you're left as a last pick for Bam along with Paulie "Wheels of Fury" Ryan, a 10-year-old kid in a full-body cast riding a motor-powered wheelchair. As it turns out, Paulie is just the kind of bastard Bam needs, so Tony is forced to take you in and prove Bam wrong for passing you up.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* [[http://achewood.com/index.php?date=02172006 Referenced]] in ''{{Achewood}}'':
-->'''Ray:''' Beef, why do I get a feelin' that our army's made up of ex-kids who were always picked last for kickball?
-->'''Roast Beef:''' Can you think of anyone who has a more gigantic and deep-seated fury at the world
-->'''Ray:''' Huh. Good point.
* In [[http://lfgcomic.com/page/445 this]] ''LookingForGroup'' strip, Richard is picked after the crippled children with speech impediments.
* Elan in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is picked last when the party splits. In fact, the strip ends with Roy [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0002.html still looking for another option]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Makes for CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming in a RedVsBlue Special, where teams are picked new to match the new location. Sarge's first pick is Simmons who blurts out, in the most happy way imaginable, "First! I've never been picked first!"
* In the HomestarRunner cartoon ''Kick-A-Ball,'' Homestar points out that Pom Pom was picked last. However, Pom Pom was also picked first... and in fact, Pom Pom was the only person Homestar picked [[spoiler:except for a double-sided mouth whisper draft of Strong Sad.]] The teams ended up being Homestar, Pom Pom, [[spoiler:and Strong Sad]] against everybody else.
* The ''Dorkly Bits'' short, ''[[Main/SuperMarioBros Chargin' Chuck]] Gets Picked Last''. [[spoiler: Subverted at the end, as he doesn't even get picked.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* On ''WesternAnimation/FairlyOddParents'' Timmy Turner was picked last for ''everything'' in Dimmsdale (even a ''rock'' was picked before him) to the point where he got Cosmo and Wanda to make him the most wanted kid in the world. Unfortunately, "most wanted" has another meaning...
* Sheldon from ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'' got picked last for everything as well.
* ''Captain Zed And The Zee Zone'' had a dream sequence where a kid always got picked last for sports. In the dream, out of three players, the captains picked the other two people, and then they picked the bushes and rocks (who grew legs and arms and started playing tennis with them).
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "King of the Hill" simultaneously plays this straight and subverts this in a few ways with Bart and Rod Flanders picking teammates for a game of Capture The Flag. Bart picks Nelson over his best friend Milhouse, who naively comments on how he must be "saving the best for last." Rod, on the other hand, chooses his brother Todd as his first pick.
** Another episode had Homer all excited for the Employee of the Week awards because, as he notes from the rulebook, every employee ''must'' win the Employee of the Week award at least once, and everyone else has won it, so it's his turn at last. He doesn't seem terribly upset about being last picked, but he ''is'' upset when the award goes to an inanimate carbon rod.
* Predictably, happened at least a couple times in ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}''. Played with a bit, by having the second-to-last pick actually be the worst sports player (e.g. a random kid with a broken leg and crutches, or [[AndZoidberg Gus]]), but the one picked last is being socially snubbed.
* In ''[[Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians 101 Dalmations: The Series]]'', Lt. Pug picks Lucky and Tripod as team leaders for cohesian drils in one episode. Spot is the last picked and Lucky even tries to pick a bucket instead because she is a chicken and the rest are dogs. She gets her own back later in the episode, though.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'', Megamind was always picked last in school during the brief time that he tried to fit in as a normal kid.
** It's even exaggerated; we see him standing next to a cute girl who gets picked before him, then the camera pans out to show that the girl is ''on crutches''.
* In one episode of WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill, Hank and his friends find a kickball and decide to start playing. When their other family members and neighbors come to join the game, they split into teams. Dale is picked last, even after Connie, a 12-year old girl who wasn't the most athletic person to choose from. Team captain Bill is obviously disappointed at having Dale on his team.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'', Hamton complains about always getting picked last on the soccer team. At the end, the team apologizes, saying that it's not because they don't like him...
-->'''Plucky:''' It's because you're a lousy goalie.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/RocketPower'', the class plays kickball during P.E., and Sam ends up getting picked last, with the other student picked before him being a boy on crutches. When it's revealed that Sam actually has talent at the sport, he ends up being picked first the next day and is eventually made one of the team captains.
* Happens to Eddy in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'', despite begging Rolf and Kevin to pick him for their basketball team. Even Plank (who is a plank of wood) got picked before him.
* In one episode of ''"WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresofJimmyNeutron"'' has Jimmy getting picked last for basketball due to his short stature.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Physical education teachers most often at the elementary school level often will take steps to discourage favoritism and eliminate the stigma that sometimes comes with an athletically untalented student being PickedLast. These range from "numbering off" students ("1," "2," "1," "2," "1," "2" ...) to arbitrarily determine teams, to having the perpetual "end of the bench kid" have his/her turn at choosing members of a team. As stated in the introduction, strange things have happened ... with the "untalented" kid sometimes making the game-winning play (or playing a key role therein), and the teacher pointing it out to teach a lesson.
* Played with when it comes to professional sports drafts, as they end after a set number of picks, instead of after everyone who enters the draft is taken. Those not chosen can sign with whatever team they want to (or whatever team will have them).
* [[TheBeautifulGame Association Football]] player El Hadji Diouf, while with Liverpool FC during the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons, became so unpopular due to both his attitude and a lack of goals scored in competitive fixtures (which is exceptionally poor for someone intended to play in a Striker's position) that teammate Jamie Carragher attested to Diouf always being the last one picked during training and team practice.
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