"The Not-The-Biggest-Loser Bowl Jr."
Story Written by Freedom Fighter

So, as you may or may not, I got into another cartoon from Canada called "Sidekick" a few months ago, and just thought that the show is ripe for fanfiction!

So in the spirit of the season, here's my first ever story written for the "Sidekick" fandom! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: The characters of 'Sidekick' belong to Nelvana, YTV, and Cartoon Network.

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The Not-The-Biggest-Loser Bowl Jr. (01.09.12)
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Splittsboro Stadium was filling up to capacity as football fans from across the city came to cheer on two cross-city junior varsity football teams in their annual rivalry game.

"Welcome, sports fans, to the Game of the Century!" shouted the announcer. "We've got two great teams competing today in a rivalry that has lasted many, many years. But it's gone sour in recent years, so this game has been renamed The Not-The-Biggest-Loser Bowl Junior! Due to the fact that, for the first time in series history, both teams come into this game winless on the season! The winners will get a trophy and finally have something nice to look back at as they begin their off-season; the losers will celebrate their worst season ever. But worst is relative, as the visiting Henchmen Vocational has never had a winless season before and they've not lost in this rivalry game in 21 years, while the home team, the Sidekick Academy, is trying to avoid its seventh straight winless campaign and losing a 75th straight game, which would break the league record."

On the sideline, the Sidekicks were making their final game preparations. Tying their shoelaces, securing their chinstraps, passing gas... that sort of thing. Over on the other sideline, the Henchmen were psyching themselves up by jogging in place, slapping each other upside their helmeted heads, and ripping apart life-sized, mothball-filled dolls of Eric.

"This is horrible!" screamed Eric in anguish as he saw the frightening pregame ritual from afar. "We're gonna get annihilated!"

"NEIN!" snapped Pamplemoose. "Zat is loser talk! Ve vill vin!"

He then shot a glance over to Master XOX. The evil villain saw the professor staring at him, and XOX stuck his tongue out at him.

"You will not get ze best of me this year!" Pamplemoose shouted.

"You're kidding, right?" XOX barked back. "And don't bet on Maxum Man's sidekick bailing you out. He's way out of his league!"

As the two coaches continued trading barbs, the teams took the field. As the ball was being set up for kickoff, the cheerleaders from the Sidekick Academy, led by Vana and Kitty, were doing their best to get the home crowd excited.

"SIDEKICKS, SIDEKICKS, WIN THIS GAME! BUT WHY EVEN TRY, THE RESULT WILL BE THE SAME!"

The squad then split apart to fire up individual parts of the stadium, though Vana and Kitty stayed together, allowing the former to do some complaining.

"I can't believe this! You know and I know that I can play football better than everyone on our team! Well, everyone still left. It has been an injury-filled season. But STILL!"

"Pamplemoose did say that girls shouldn't play football, and as much as I disagree with him, he IS the coach, Vana! You've been harping it since September... let it go already! Besides, you're head cheerleader! Isn't that enough?"

"I do admit, I have begun to like how frilly our skirts are. And all the stares we get. But, seriously, I'd rather want to be on that field, banging helmets, getting dirty in the trenches, and barreling through defenders going into the end zone, turning around, and telling them, 'Ha! You just got beat by a girl, sucka!'"

The next thing the girls knew, the Henchmen had kicked off, and the game had begun!

"Too late now," Kitty said as Vana crossed her arms over her chest. "The last game of the season's begun."

The ball was flipping end over end in the air, and was coming down towards Eric.

"Short kick here," the announcer commentated, "with Eric Needles set to return it from the 15."

Eric closed his eyes, outstretched his arms in front of him, and... caught the ball! He was pleased that he managed to actually catch it. He was subsequently rewarded for his triumph by being slammed into by a hard-charging Henchmen, who succeeded in sending Eric flying about five yards backwards. Eric landed face-first in the turf, right on the 10-yard line.

Seeing this, Vana slapped herself in the face with the palm of her hand.

"Ugh! This is gonna be a LONG game!"

The Sidekicks' offense took the field for their first possession of the game. But it did not take long for them to realize that the Henchmen were bigger and stronger, and they all began shaking in fear. All except for...

"Bring it on, man!" Trevor told the cornerback he was going up against as he lined up at wide receiver. "Bring it on!"

The ball was snapped, and the quarterback stepped back in the pocket. He glanced towards Trevor, who was running a 'go' route, and threw his way. A good thing, too, because he was tackled by a defender right after he had let go of the ball. Trevor looked over his inside shoulder and saw the ball spiraling his way...

"I got it! MINE!"

Trevor himself then got steamrolled as he got blasted by the safety, who then caught the ball and ran it in for a touchdown.

"Touchdown, Henchmen!" exclaimed the announcer.

"NOOOOOOOOO!" Pamplemoose screamed in anguish.

"Hey!" complained Eric. "There's no way that hit was legal! Why didn't they throw a flag?"

Over on the other sideline, Master XOX was in the midst of paying off the referees.


But things would get even worse for the Sidekicks. The next three possessions resulted in two lost fumbles and another interception. The first quarter would end with the Henchmen up 24-0. And Vana and the Sidekicks' cheerleaders were letting their team know how they felt.

"WE'RE DOWN, WE'RE DOWN, WE'RE DOWN SO BIG! YOU'RE NOT CUT OUT FOR THIS GIG!"

Vana then added, completely on her own, "And put someone in the game who can play! LIKE ME!"

Pamplemoose suddenly went over to the cheerleaders, and he had a jersey in hand. Kitty saw why, as one of their players was being assisted off the field after getting hurt. Vana smiled, as she saw opportunity glimmering in her direction.

"About time you realized how much you need me!"

But Pamplemoose floated right by Vana and handed the jersey to the school mascot, the piglet.

"WHAT? You're picking the PIG?"

"That was an unexpected zig," Kitty rhymed.

But the pig would prove that his selection had merit. Three plays into the second quarter, an errant throw by the Henchmen's quarterback was gobbled up by him... literally. The piglet had not been paying attention, and had his mouth wide open as the ball entered him. His normally round body was now egg-shaped, since he had swallowed the football whole.

"Somebody catch that oinker!" shouted XOX from the sideline.

Half-panicked and half in pain, the piglet took off down the field. His small size and his surprising mobility made it tough for the Henchmen to tackle him. Before they knew it, there was no one in front of the piglet, and therefore, no one to stop him from reaching the end zone.

"Touchdown, Sidekicks! Touch- wait, where's that thing going?"

The piglet had not stopped once he had gotten into the end zone. Instead, he continued into the tunnel, out of the stadium, and then who-knows-where from there.

"RUN, PIGGY, RUN!" yelled Trevor.

Eric gave Trevor an odd look.

"What? He can run!"


Inspired by the piglet's selfless act, the Sidekicks' defense stepped up their game, holding the Henchmen to only one touchdown in the second quarter. Too bad the same could not be said for the offense, which failed to have another positive play the rest of the half.

Finally, the gun went off, signaling the end of the first half. The Henchmen were giddy as they raced off to the locker room, while the Sidekicks had their heads down in sadness as they slowly trotted in.

"That's the end of the half, with the score: Henchmen Vocational 31, Sidekick Academy 6!"


In the locker room, the Sidekicks were just as downtrodden. Half of them were in the process of removing their pads and uniforms, content to not play the second half and at least leave with their health intact. At least, those who could still move after the pounding the burly Henchmen team had given them.

Eric and Trevor were the only ones making any attempt to stay positive, though they could feel that their pleas were falling on deaf ears.

"What are we going to do?" Eric asked, throwing his arms up in frustration. "I don't want to be part of the team that breaks the league record for most consecutive losses! Even if this is my first game, I don't want that dishonor to follow me the rest of my life!"

"Good luck, man," Trevor told him, even as he was trying to push back in an upper tooth that was hanging on for dear life in his mouth. "I don't see how we can beat them."

Suddenly, the door leading into the locker room was kicked open by Vana. She and Kitty entered, still in their cheerleading uniforms, but with football helmets in their hands.

"I've had enough of watching you guys SUCK!" Vana declared. "Let me and Kitty on the team, or else!"

"FINE!" Pamplemoose screamed from the other side of the room. "It's not like I have anything else to lose..."

The two girls high-fived each other, jubilant to finally be on the team.


The third quarter began, and Vana and Kitty did not take long to take control of the game. The Sidekicks opened on defense, and began blitzing like crazy. The Henchmen were not prepared, and they were forced to punt without getting a first down. Vana took over as team quarterback, and she called a trick play to start things off. After snapping the ball, she immediately tossed it to Kitty. Kitty ran to her right, while Vana burst through the middle. Eric and Trevor were tossed aside by defense linemen, all trying to get past them so they could bury Kitty six feet under.

But then Kitty threw the ball, rifling it to Vana who had gotten wide open. The nearest defender went for a diving tackle, but Vana just hurdled him and continued on. She then made a beeline for the end zone, and got there without being touched.

"YES!" she yelled, spiking the ball. "THAT'S WHY I'M NUMBER ONE!"

She further proved her point by gesturing towards her uniform - she had on jersey number one, of course.

"Touchdown, Sidekicks!" shouted the announcer. "What a play!"


But Vana was just getting started. On her team's next possession, she proved she could run the ball as well, as she rolled out to her left on the first snap and gained 25 yards before the defense could finally bring her down. On two plays, Vana had reinvigorated her teammates, her coach, and the home crowd, as they all suddenly had something to cheer about.

Vana continued to make calls at the line, and she got Kitty, Trevor, and even Eric involved, pushing them all to play beyond their athletic limitations. They were no longer dropping passes, missing blocking assignments, or failing to hang on to the ball for more than a second. About the only thing not going right was their kicker, who failed to make extra point attempts over and over again.


But then...

"Touchdown, Sidekicks!" declared the announcer. "Trevor Troublemeyer with his first career touchdown, puts the Sidekicks within one point of tying the game!"

The Sidekicks set up for the PAT, but in a strange twist, Vana shooed off the team's kicker.

"Kitty, you snap the ball! Eric, you're holding. And those laces BETTER be out!"

Eric gulped, but was ready to fulfill his role anyway. Vana took her place as the kicker.

Kitty snapped the ball back on Eric's command. He caught the ball, put it down on its pointy end, and closed his eyes. Vana hit the ball with her left foot and it rocketed through the uprights.

"IT'S GOOD!" Pamplemoose declared.

"For the first time this season," the announcer exclaimed, "the Sidekicks make a PAT! And with over nine minutes left to play in the fourth, we're tied at 31!"

"I told you I was the best player on this team!" huffed Vana as she led her team off to prepare for the ensuing kickoff.

"I can't believe it," Eric said with glee. "We might actually win this!"

XOX, though, was not happy with this turn of events. And he was yelling angrily at his players to show his displeasure.

"You simians can't even stop one little girl? You dim bulbs! I can't believe I'm resorting to this... but time to unleash my secret weapon! MWA HA HA HA HA!"

XOX pointed at someone on the bench, and that person ran out onto the field. Eric gasped when he not only saw that player head for the end zone to receive the ball, but when he recognized whom it was.

"Is that... MANDY?"

Mandy Struction, who wore jersey number 7.0, had put on her helmet. Eric turned to warn Vana, but it was too late. The whistle blew and Vana kicked the ball off the field, right in Mandy's direction. Mandy caught the ball two yards deep in the end zone, and ran it out. She had two blockers in front of them, and they were paving the way for her. By this point, Vana had realized Mandy was in the game, and set her sights on taking her down.

Mandy juked one would-be tackler, then stepped out from behind her blockers to make a break for it. As she picked up speed, her feet hit the ground harder and harder, causing small tremors with each new step. Vana would not be deterred, though, as she reached out to wrap her arms around Mandy to take her down. Mandy responded by doing a stiff arm and pushing Vana away. Stunned by the move, Vana slowed down enough to be taken out of the play.

That left only one player in place to keep Mandy from getting to the end zone... and that was Eric.

"I can't let you score, Mandy!" Eric shouted as he charged for her.

"Sorry, Eric," Mandy shouted at him, "but you can't stop me!"

Suddenly, Eric skidded to a stop. Hearing Mandy's voice again had reminded him how much he loved her. Smitten upon seeing her again, Eric did nothing as Mandy raced past him and to the end zone.

"Touchdown, Henchmen!"

Mandy flipped the ball to the nearest referee and then ran for the sidelines, arms raised triumphantly in the air. Meanwhile, Vana had smacked Eric back to his senses, and Trevor and Kitty were with her.

"I can't believe you just stood there and did nothing!" Vana shouted at him.

"Don't blame Eric," Kitty explained, racing to her crush's defense. "It's that Mandy Struction! How DARE she distract my Eric with her feminine wiles!"

"It's okay," Eric spoke up. "I'm not gonna let Mandy distract me."

"You better not," warned Vana, "or, so help me, Needles, I will never speak to you again! Ever!"

Eric gasped as Vana walked away. "I can't let that happen! I won't let that happen!"

"And even if you do," Kitty assured him, "I'll always speak to you. Just like I tell my homemade Eric doll... with real Eric hair."

Eric did a double take. "What?"

"What?" Kitty hastily fired back.


"It's been a thrilling game, folks, but following a Sidekicks' touchdown and a fumble by the Henchmen, the Sidekicks are in field goal range with just four seconds on the clock! With a tie score, this could be the game if the Sidekicks convert!"

"Time to win this with my golden foot!" declared Vana, as she flexed it in front of the others in the huddle.

"That's a pretty long kick," Kitty thought aloud. "You sure 50 yards is doable?"

"Sure it is, Kitty. Don't you see me flex-"

CRACK!

"-ing?"

Vana fell to the ground, grasping her kicking ankle with her hands.

"NO! Not now, not now!"

"Vana!" Eric cried. "Are you alright?"

"Of course I am!" Vana lied, as she tried to get to her feet. "Why would you think otherwise?"

But Vana quickly discovered that she could not put any weight on her kicking foot. She did not scream in anguish, but the pained look on her face was the only sign her friends needed to determine that she would be unable to kick such a long distance.

"You mean this game is gonna end in a tie?" growled Trevor. "Ties are horrible! Especially since I can't do them! Seriously, how do you loop UNDER?"

"There's overtime, Trevor," Kitty corrected him. "Vana, just take a knee, and we'll win it in overtime!"

"WHAT? No way! We're winning this NOW!"

"I agree with Vana!" exclaimed Eric. "And I know just how to do it!"

"You do?" all three of his friends looked quizzically at him.

They broke the huddle, and they came out in a passing formation instead of a kicking one.

"WHAT?" Pamplemoose screamed in surprise on the sidelines. "Take the knee!"

Over on the other sideline...

"Show 'em what fools they are!" XOX shouted. "Take that ball and run it back for a touchdown!"

Kitty and Eric lined up in the backfield, on either side of Vana, who was back in the shotgun. Trevor was out wide on the near side.

"Hike, HIKE!"

The ball was snapped, and upon receiving it, Vana turned to her right to hand the ball off to Kitty. Mandy saw this from the line and began to charge in. But Kitty purposely missed taking the hand-off, as Vana kept the ball and started hobbling to her right. Mandy tackled Kitty before realizing that she did not have the ball, while Vana and Eric were going in the opposite direction.

"Option, OPTION!" XOX yelled from the sideline, identifying the play.

Vana saw a lineman and a linebacker her rush her way as she turned upfield. She waited until the absolute last second before pitching it to her right, over to Eric, who caught it. Vana was taken down by both immediately afterwards, leaving Eric a lane down the sideline with Trevor ahead of him, serving as a blocker.

"Go, Eric, GO!" Kitty screamed as she laid on the turf.

Trevor did his best to keep incoming defenders away from Eric. They were trying everything to get through, from kicking and screaming to flailing their arms in front of them like little girls. Eventually, one of the chasers tripped, and he reached out and took Trevor down with him. That left Eric alone with two big men chasing him, and they were getting closer and closer.

"I'm not gonna make it!" Eric started to tell himself.

He only had one chance. At the four-yard line, he jumped up and forward, attempting to dive for the goal line. As he did, though, one chaser grabbed him by the legs, and then the other wrapped his arms around Eric's torso. Eric tried to stretch his arms forward, and the second chaser reached out as well, to try and knock the ball out. Eric could see the line well in reach, but he was going to be pulled down a few inches short. Could he stretch that far?

Suddenly, a third Henchmen player got into the scrum. It was Mandy, having caught all the way back up, and she was attempting to stop Eric by... pushing the group forward? Eric summoned the last of his strength and extended his arms to their near-breaking point. Then, just as it seemed as if Eric had failed in his attempt to end the game in regulation, the front tip of the ball just extended over the goal plane.

And then Eric and the pile collapsed on the turf. The line judge's arms then went up.

"TOUCHDOWN!" the announcer yelled. "Touchdown, Eric Needles! The Sidekicks win!"

As the tacklers were pulled off of Eric, all of his teammates were racing down to congratulate him.

"Eric Needles has done it! 74-game overall losing streak, done! 45-game league losing streak, finito! And a 21-game losing streak in this rivalry game, over! The Sidekicks avoid a seventh straight winless season, and they will claim the first-ever Not-The-Biggest-Loser Bowl Junior trophy!"

The team picked Eric up over the ground and cheered his name as they motioned to carry him off the field in triumph. Even Vana was a part of it, even though she was the reason they had came back to mount a game-winning drive in the first place.

"Eh..." Vana shrugged, "even YOU have to be lucky once in awhile."

Eric took it as a compliment. "Thanks! I think."

"ERIC! ERIC! ERIC!"

They continued to chant his name, as Eric soaked up being the grand hero and the scoreboard behind him read 'Sidekicks 44, Henchmen 38.'

"YES!" he shouted. "We won, we won, we won! And no caveat! We legitimately won!"

He then glanced over towards the Henchmen's sideline, where XOX was berating his team for their devastation collapse. But he was just wrapping up, and they all began to march towards the locker room. Eric was about to turn his attention back towards his celebration when he saw Mandy turn her head his way.

She winked at him.

No mistake, even though they were about 50 yards or so apart, Eric could see that wink as if Mandy was standing right in front of him.

"Hmmm..." Eric thought to himself. "You don't think she helped... nah!"

He let all lingering doubts escape him, and looked down at his teammates, who continued shouting his name and singing his praises. And they would do so for as long as their voices would allow.

For Eric had assured that his team was not the biggest loser.

The End