Monday, April 9, 2012

Movies With Meaning: Why I Love Sports Movies + Hate Sports

I hate sports. I spent a small portion of my late teens and early twenties–in the pursuit of camaraderie–watching sports. Baseball, football, basketball, soccer and I grew a clear and undeniable distain for them all. It’s not personal (well it is personal, just not a judgement)–I just don’t get it. Someone hits something or dribbles something or throws something and then people run–around bases, or across a field, or a court. And then it happens again. I just don’t get it. So, I gave up the faux sports loyalties and arduous game watching and went back to what I really spent my imagination doing during the course of games anyway–reading or writing or thinking about stories.

But, the logic that follows for my watching sports is completely contradicted when I watch a sports movie. Sports movies I love. I get immensely invested in the games, the winning and losing, and the plot-line that weaves between the athletic action to give me something I can hold onto as a writer, a reader, a daydreamer–characters with depth and hearts and a story with meaning that the whole movie works up to a fervor and final resolution, usually on the bases, or the field, or the court.

I need the back story and the meaning-making to make what happens when this person runs here or throws this or hits that have any kind of relevance to me. So, in a very ironic way, although I am a self-proclaimed sports-unenthusiast I love sports movies–so much so that I will even spring for the big screen of a theatre, the obscenely costly buttered heart attack they call popcorn and the hurdle (pun intended) of my husband’s neurosis about getting the seats by the railings (so he can put his feet up).

In the spirit of baseball season, or preseason, or whatever it is that makes my home consumed with the sounds of bats, balls and shouting, I want to give a shout out to the sports movies that I love–full of meaning, motivation, and often faith, loyalty, love and big life lessons lightly cloaked in jerseys and sweat.
10 SPORTS FILMS I LOVE (in no particular order):
  1. FIELD OF DREAMS: about family, fathers and sons, blind faith, addiction, and heaven
  2. THE BLINDSIDE: about family, racial issues and socioeconomic hardship, love, mothering, and innocence
  3. MONEYBALL: about perseverance, david and goliath experiences, belief, loss, honesty
  4. REMEMBER THE TITANS: about adversity, racial tensions, faith, and courage
  5. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: about grief, loss, womens’ rights, family, jealousy, bravery, and independence
  6. ALI : about racial tensions, activism, courage, and tenacity
  7. THE SANDLOT: about innocence, childhood, identity, and growing up
  8. WHIP IT: about identity, dedication, and family
  9. WE ARE MARSHALLS: about grief, loss, community, and hope
  10. COACH CARTER: adversity, faith, honor, role models, family, friendship

**I am sure there are tons of other good ones but these are those I have seen and have resonance with. There are also plenty of other themes in each of these movies–not all good–like ego, greed, adultery, addiction, and I definitely didn’t list all of them just the ones that stand out to me.**

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