Let me start off my saying I am not much of a sports fan. When I was a kid I followed baseball and collected baseball cards. In the mid 70’s, I followed hockey and the Philadelphia Flyers through their first Stanley Cup win. But that’s about it. I have my opinions about professional sports today, but I’ll keep them to myself.
What I do enjoy are sports movies. Football, baseball, hockey; I enjoy them all. I enjoy them because to me they are about what sports can really be, a metaphor about life.
My idea for writing this came after I sat down the other night and re-watched the movie Invincible:
I liked Invincible for a few obvious reasons: It was about my local team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and it was a true story; the story of the most unlikely player to ever make the NFL.
The movie is uplifting and fun, but most of all it’s about the underdog having his day in the sun.
Thinking about this, I realized that almost every sports movie made follows this same theme – overcoming all odds. Virtually every sport has had movies like this, and I’ve enjoyed almost every one. There are football movies:
Remember the Titans
Honorable mention: Rudy, Brian’s Song, Any Given Sunday , The Blind Side.
Then there’s baseball:
Field of Dreams
Honorable mention: The Natural, The Babe, Eight Men Out, Cobb
and there is Hockey:
I started making a list of sports movie and discovered there are far more than I realized, covering every imaginable sport. I’ve seen most of them, often more than once. Besides the clips here, there are any number of heart warming and inspiring movies: Chariots of Fire, Seabiscuit, A League of Their Own, Friday Night Lights, Bull Durham, The Bad News Bears.
I think one thing sports movies do is remind us what we can find inside ourselves, if we dig deep. The characters in these movies, often based on real-life people, aren’t super heros. They are regular people who overcame obstacles, sometimes great ones, to achieve a goal. Their purpose is to inspire, to pull us to our feet, to believe that even what seems impossible might be possible afterall. Underdogs can be heros.
And finally, the quintessential underdog movie: