Game Time: Larusso Vs. Skywalker, The Death Match

Categories: Game Time, Movies
I'm not afraid to admit it, I'm a huge fan of The Karate Kid. And I'm not just talking "guilty pleasure" fan.

No sir, not only do I actually own all three DVD's in the Karate Kid trilogy, but my Karate Kid III DVD actually has some scenes that skip because of wear and tear. Yeah, you heard me, the Karate Kid movie whose central storyline involved a Wall Street tycoon spending every waking moment of his day trying to figure out a way to mentally and physically destroy a skinny teenage kid from New Jersey has actually logged more Pendergast DVD time than The Godfather (and for the record, I love The Godfather).

I've named my fantasy football "Kobra Kai Dojo" for ten straight years (until this season when I changed it to "Tom Cable's Dojo"). I openly pine for the chunky version of Elisabeth Shue from the first Karate Kid movie. I make the Daniel Larusso "Yeah, I just scored a goal in bubble hockey!" Face after every goal I score in bubble hockey (anyone know where I can find bubble hockey in Houston, by the way?).

I actually dedicated an entire radio show to the 25th anniversary of the release of the first Karate Kid movie. Included in that show was an interview with Billy Zabka (the diabolical "Johnny Lawrence"), and to this day when people ask me "Who is the most famous person's phone number you have in your iPhone?" I immediately answer "BILLY ZABKA", not because he is the most famous, but it's the number I find to be the coolest. It's the Honus Wagner baseball card of celebrity phone numbers.

Why do I bring my Karate Kid fetish up, in a sports blog post of all places?


-- I have a job to do, and that job is to deliver blog posts.

-- Karate actually is a sport. Look it up.

-- The Rockets didn't play last night.

-- Owen Daniels didn't tear any more knee ligaments last night.

-- The Astros can only hire one manager this offseason (although if they could hire one a week to keep the spotlight on Minute Maid Park, Drayton might do it).

-- Phillies are now on the road, so no stories about skanks ho-ing themselves out for tickets.

Hence, there's nothing to write about.

Fortunately, it's Ralph Macchio's birthday today!

Indeed, Ralph Macchio turns 48 years old today! While I am philosophically opposed to paying tribute to Macchio himself on his birthday (Unlike Zabka, Macchio big-leagued us on our interview request for the Karate Kid 25th-anniversary show.), I think it's not only appropriate, but necessary to pay tribute to the character that made Macchio famous, Daniel Larusso. You may ask "Why pay tribute to a scrawny kid from New Jersey who may or may not have been taking estrogen pills?" (Actually, if you're asking that question you probably stopped reading this post ten minutes ago.)

Well, just look at the body of work. He somehow found a way to parlay a feathered center-part haircut, a wardrobe that consisted of Wes Chandler jerseys and sweats, a body type that could best be labeled as "energetically frail" and his mom's green station wagon (complete with mom driving) as his only mode of transportation on dates into (a) a love affair for the ages with Ali (Elisabeth Shue) and (b) the All-Valley Karate Championship. In short, there was no more unlikely hero ever than Daniel Larusso, and until the Rockets win the Western Conference with this year's roster, no one ever did more with less.

And just as I type the "no more unlikely hero" part of that last paragraph, I have noted Star Wars geek and 1560 program director Chance McClain (and his sidekick, Frankie the Bull) standing over my shoulder trying to argue that Luke Skywalker blows Daniel Larusso out of the water in the "unlikely hero" category. All right, boys, stand here while I type all of this...

I'm ready to throw a "Tale of the Tape" on this thing and settle it once and for all. Here goes:

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