Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My love of sports films

I'm going to put this out there right now - I love sports films. What can I say? I was raised by a single father and an older brother. Both were and still are crazy about sports. Watching sports and playing sports were just things that happened in our house since as long as I can remember. And somewhere along the way, I grew to really love both watching sports (to a degree), playing sports (but not lately) and appreciating sports films (always).

I was finally getting around to watching The Blind Side the other day and it reminded me that I've always wanted to write a blog post about my love of sports films. I thought that today I might talk a little bit about why I love sports films so much and share with you some of my favourites. It is my feeling that there is much to love about sports films.

First, I think it's just absolutely wonderful watching sports on film, I feel a little excited watching clips of people playing sports in movies. Is that just me? But for the rest of you that need more convincing I love that sports film usually focus on a team or an individual that is up against overwhelming odds or is an underdog for whatever reason. Cue much preparation, either mental or physical (both of which I find fascinating to watch!). There's usually an inspirational speech. There's sometimes one outstanding athlete who is unwilling to join the team. And speaking of teams, I love the aspect of team building and that of belonging. So, the camraderie between members of sports teams makes me feel a little weepy, if I'm honest. Plus I love the determination to succeed and and all the hard work which goes into something that people love.

I'll be honest, while I do love sports films, I haven't seen a lot of the so-classed classics. Raging Bull? Bull Durham? Field of Dreams? Yeah, I've never seen those films and have no particular plan to change that. No, I think the films that really inspired my love of sports are more along the lines of ...

The Sandlot
is one of the cornerstones of my childhood. Sure, it can be corny in parts, but who cares, really? Not me. My love of this film goes beyond belief. It's highly quoatable and still entertaining after the hundreth time that I've seen it. I've already shared this film with my boys who satisfyingly seem to love it as much as I do. I might have disowned them if they hadn't. Plus, I had a raging crush on Benny 'The Jet' Rodriguez.

Yes, yes. My all-consuming crush on Joshua Jackson that's lasted my entire lifetime began with him as Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks films. What can I say? He's adorable, especially in the first film as he's bumbling and awkward. Plus, hockey films? I love it. Quack, quack, quack.

Like The Sandlot and The Mighty Ducks, I've seen Cool Runnings more times than is probably acceptable to admit. It is hilarious and heart-warming and I cry at the end every.single.time. Everyone does, right? Plus, I want friends like these four guys. I really do.

But, it isn't all children's sports films. When I was very young one of the first non-children's films I remember watching with my father was Hoosiers. I love Hoosiers, it's one of my favourite films ever.

But I also grew up really loving films like Rocky. (whenever I hear the theme song to Rocky, I feel motivated to go running or something) And no 80s childhood could escape the amazing film that is The Karate Kid. Fantastic. My life wouldn't be the same without it. I haven't seen the remake.

A League of their Own was also a firm favourite in our household. I love Tom Hanks in this film. But I also love that it's about women's baseball. I think there needs to be more kick-ass women athletes on film, like Geena Davis' character. In fact, her entire team were pretty great. Great movie.

But then, there was Bend It Like Beckham which showed girl's soccer pretty well. I've watched Bend It Like Beckham more times than I can count, I think. When I was younger, I loved playing soccer and, in my heart of hearts, sort of wanted to play professionally as well. In the late 90s before I moved to England and the women's US soccer became so successful and players like Mia Hamm became more well-known and recognisable, I cheered.

And while I've heard that some people weren't impressed with Blue Crush, I'll admit to being a fan. I think women surfers are utterly awesome and I thought everything in Blue Crush was just beautiful and utterly exciting.

And while I love sports on film quite a lot, I also quite love television programmes that focus on sports as well, like the early seasons of One Tree Hill and especially Friday Night Lights. I can't think of a better TV programme in recent years than Friday Night Lights. I love, love, love it. I love the characters, the storyline, the dialogue and especially the football. I want more. And OK. Tim Riggins is a major factor of my love of the show! (Can you blame me?!)

In fact, a lot of the other films on the list that I've created are sports films involving teams playing in high school or college. And just as I'm drawn to YA novels, I'm also drawn to films telling stories about teens. And these teens playing sports? Hurrah, I'm there.

Films like Varsity Blues in which James van der Beek leads his team to victory? It doesn't get any more fun than this.

Or Coach Carter, with his wonderful inspirational poem that he shares with his basketball team in order to become all they can be. I eat that stuff up.

And one of my all-time favourites? Rudy. In which little Sean Astin practically kills himself in order to be the best to make up for his size whilst playing American football in college. I can't believe that anybody can watch Rudy and not get chills and even shed a tear when Rudy finally plays. And does well. I'm nearly crying just thinking of it actually.

Other films I didn't quite have the time to talk about? Dodgeball. Million Dollar Baby. Invictus.

Do you have a favourite sports film?


  1. Since you told me you were going to do this post I've been looking forward to it and you certainly haven't disappointed. I adore sports films, you've talked here about a lot of my favourites. I love the slight cheesiness they invariably have, I love the whole underdog becoming victorious thing and I love how utterly involved I get in the plot.

    There are a couple here I haven't seen - I shall get on to sorting that out. I also haven't seen One Tree Hill since the first season, and I've never seen Friday Night Lights though this is on my must watch list.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face with this post!

  2. The Blind Side is so sad! But a great movie =)
    I have watched a few of these and have really enjoyed all of them.

  3. Wow I love your films!! Bend It Like Beckham is also a fave of mine and I've also watched it manyyyyy times. And One Tree Hill used to be a big sports-oriented show and Friday Night Lights still is, thank God. I love this post! Thanks :)

  4. Jenni - This post was so much fun to write, I'm glad you liked it. You really, really must watch Friday Night Lights! Brilliant show.

    BFC - I really loved The Blind Side. Knew it'd be good, didn't realise it'd be so sad!

    ttylyoverit17 - You're welcome :)

  5. Ooh, I loved reading this! I worked a lot on The Might Ducks films (subtitling them, I mean) and you've brought back lots of memories. Fab post!

  6. We say, "There's no crying in baseball!" all the time. And The Karate Kid is just brilliant.

  7. You just hit on one of my favorite movie genres. I will definitely have to do a post on this now my self to share my over the top, can't get enough of it, scene every movie ever made love of sports movies. So, no, you are not alone. :)

  8. Luisa - You worked on the subtitling for the Ducks films? How cool is that?!

    Stella - There's no crying in baseball!! Fab line. I love it.

    Brynn - YAY! I can't wait to see what your post includes. :)

  9. I love a good sports movie too! Cool Runnings and A League of Their Own are two of my favorites! Remember the Titans is another fantastic one.

  10. Melissa - Oh, Remember the Titans, that one was quite sad, right? :(


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