I’m not a real sports fan. Not in the know the players, know the statistics, know the coaches sort of way. I’m a sports fan in the way I get caught up in the spirit of the game. I also cherry-pick my teams. It’s not a calculated thought, but also not unlike most sports fans, I’d wager, in that nostalgia has a lot to do with it. In baseball, I watch the Rockies because I was in the third grade in Colorado when we got the team. I never cared about football before, but after seeing the Eagles win the Super Bowl in 2018, I’ve watched every game.
I spend these quarantined evenings wishing that I was at Coors Field and I’m mourning the Sundays to come without football. What to do with these hours instead of cheering for our team? Sports movies. Here are my picks. Leave your own in the comments.
A League of Their Own
Obviously. It has one of the very first celebrity coronavirus survivors, Tom Hanks, as the gruff but lovable coach Jimmy Dugan. The movie follows the Peaches, a team in the women’s baseball league, assembled during WWII. It’s a complicated sports story, with athletes pulled away from the game by other responsibilities and tragedies. Besides Tom Hanks, the all-star cast includes Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Bill Pullman. Also catch one of the greatest lines in sports cinema, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
There’s a scheduled reboot coming in 2021 starring LeBron James, so now’s as good a time as ever to watch, memorize, and get transformed by the original. In it, Michael Jordan helps Bugs Bunny and the Looney Toons defeat a rival team of cartoons who stole the basketball skills from NBA stars like Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, and Patrick Ewing.
Want a movie that will recreate (if only for 1 hour and 41 minutes) the feeling of summer when you were a kid? The Sandlot follows a group of kids playing baseball. But its real achievement is capturing the way the misadventures of our youths become the epic stories we tell for the rest of our lives.
The Mighty Ducks
Arguably the best movie about hockey ever made. Gordon Bombay, played by Emilio Estevez, leads a ramshackle team of misfits on the ice, teaching them about teamwork and self-confidence. While the story of a team of screwballs discovering what it means to be on a team isn’t new, the charming cast of kids and Emilio Estevez’s gritty portrayal of Coach Bombay are timeless.