In “Playing For Keeps,” out Friday, Gerard Butler plays a former soccer player trying to win back his ex, because this movie takes place in a universe where someone would actually leave Gerard Butler. Movie athletes rarely have it easy.

Rocky Balboa
When a guy’s job is to get punched in the face over six movies (or, ideally, to avoid that), you know he’s doing it for more than the money. Although the money probably helps.

Ricky Bobby
Will Ferrell’s NASCAR driver in 2006’s “Talladega Nights” may not be an athlete (unless you count “being able to hold it for 500 laps”), but he does overcome a career-ending accident using the traditional method of driving with a cougar in the car.

Maggie Fitzgerald
Portraying one of the few female athletes to make it on film, Hilary Swank won an Oscar for 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby.” We suspect that no one ever suggests that she hits like a girl.

Played by James Van Der Beek in 1999’s “Varsity Blues,” Mox is a second-string QB who takes over for the team’s injured star. If you’ve seen the film, you already stopped reading because your brain is shouting his signature line, “I DON’T WANT. YOUR LIFE.”

Robin Ramzinski
Mickey Rourke provides further proof that smacking people for a living isn’t a great idea in 2008’s “The Wrestler.” Of course, he did get an Oscar nomination. So, maybe throw some punches.