A film buff who enjoys watching a range of different films from funny rom coms to intense thrillers.
The world of sport has often been one of the best places to look to in life when you want to be inspired. Sport shows us so many sides of humanity. For one, it shows us our ability to master things which are not strictly part of us – for example, the control of a third party object such as a ball. Sports also shows us the power of the human body; to be able to transform it into something truly memorable. Without sport, we’d never see the way in which we could push our bodies to physical and mental excellence.
Sport also plays a major role in helping us to understand that, when we push ourselves, we can work with just about anyone. That even the most unlikely and unwilling of co-operatives can come together to make success a possibility. It’s why stories such as those found in movies like Remember the Titans are so popular with movie fans – and sports fans.
Why? Because movies like this each us the importance of no longer putting up with what once the perceived norm. Of changing things to create a more inclusive, friendly, yet competitive future.
- Coach Carter
- Glory Road
- Friday Night Lights
- The Express
- Brian's Song
- Rooke of the Year
- McFarland, USA
Another fine story of sporting excellence is that of Coach Carter, the coach who made headlines in 1999 for taking his undefeated basketball side out of the championship due to poor academic results. It was an event that changed the perceptions of many people in sports, and showed that to be a sportsman or sportswomen you don’t need ton conform to athletic prowess over intellectual development.
Coach Carter is also an excellent example of the change that we can put in place, even just as one person, when we’re determined to make a difference to the lives of the many.
Glory Road is a fantastic sporting movie; an example of what can be achieved by persevering through prejudice. It tells the story of Don Haskins, the coach of the Texas Western College who, in the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Championship, fielded the first ever all-black starting lineup.
It follows the downright racism that pervaded sport and society at that time, and also helps to paint a clearer picture of the hard work that was put in by the so many who brought an end to this era of judgement and persecution on the part of all non-white players.
Friday Night Lights came out in 2004, and told the story of a High School football side playing in Odessa, Texas. It’s based on the 1990 book written by H.G. Bissinger, which in itself is based on the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football side.
The film follows the Odessa side trying to cope with the expectations of the public, dealing with the pressure in their own unique ways. The film is a fine expose of the kind of pressure that is placed even on High School football sides, helping people to understand the immense pressure that exists in sport.
Miracle is the story of the 1980 US Hockey Olympic side that achieved the unbelievable and beat Russia. It follows Herb Brooks, who was put in charge of the Olympic side after suggesting he knew what had to change to beat the Russians. Defeating the professional outfit that the Soviets put out was a huge success, and one of the main reasons why the US and Hockey became a match made in heaven.
Without the work of Brooks, as shown in the movie, hockey – and the NHL – might never have grown to the size it enjoys today.
If you are looking for a semi-biographical film, then be sure to watch Radio. This is a film that is inspired by an article in Sports Illustrated in 1996, titled “Someone to Lean On” by Gary Smith. They are both based on the T.L. Hanna High School football coach, Harold Jones, as well as James Robert Kennedy, known as Radio.
Kennedy has mental disabilities, and takes the ball without realising he is to give it back to the local team. They lock him in a shed, smashing the shed with balls repeatedly. Jones hears this going on, and comforts the boy. It’s a heartening story of a man standing up for someone who needs help, and who puts the wellbeing of a person in his community far beyond his own potential for success and sporting brilliance. The ending might not have many trophies, but it’s got a far more impressive and important lesson waiting for you.
If you like your stories to come with both sporting and societal success, then you should definitely watch The Express. It’s the story of Ernie Davis, who became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. A truly inspirational movie, it’s one that shows how much sportsman from other backgrounds need to go through if they wish to make it.
It will also give you a far greater appreciation of just what sport can provide society when people like Davis come along and show a better way.
Rudy is the story of a young boy who, despite his size, is determined to play football for Notre Dame. It’s another great movie about overcoming persecution and prejudice to do something incredible in life, and to achieve what people told us we never could.
Like every other film on the list, it’s the perfect answer to anyone who doubts what can be achieved. It’s a fantastic watch; a film punctuated by moments of greatness and actions that showcase how perseverance always wins.
A really tough watch, Brian’s Song follows the story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayes. As best friends, the duo are pushed to new levels of friendship when Piccolo falls ill with a fatal condition. It’s a tremendous watch, and one that shows the immense level of loyalty and friendship that can exist in a sports team.
Rookie of the Year is a tremendous story, a comedy film with a wonderful message at the heart of it. it follows players on the Chicago Cubs baseball team, with Henry Rowengartner desperate to be a major league player. Poor to begin with, a shoulder injury leads to his tendons healing to a level of tightness previously not possible, leaving Henry with tremendous pitching power.
It leads to a movie that sees him become part of the Cubs, where his 100mph serves make him a legend.
McFarland, USA, is a 2015 US release that was majorly popular, showing the story of a 1987 cross country team from a mostly Latino school in McFarland, California. It shows the amazing work that the team coach, Jim White, went to in a bid to make sure that his team could go on and win the state championship.
The film was widely seen as a fine example of a sporting story that shows what togetherness and a quality coach can produce. With numerous titles won across the years under White, this tells the story of one of the most underappreciated names in the sporting world.
What Made Remember the Titans Great
Released in 2000, Remember The Titans was the perfect film to introduce a new millennium of (hopeful) equality. The biographical sports film will follow the story of Herman Boone. Boone, an African-American sports coach, worked so hard to integrate his side, the T.C. Williams High School football team, in Alexandria, West Virginia, into the side.
In the movie, we watch as Boone fights tooth and nail to get his side integrated into the league step. The fact that racial tensions are at an all-time high and that many schools are “all white”, Boone is given the job as a means of trying to quell the anger. The head coach prior to him, Bill Yoast, was removed from the position to put Boone in place. When many of the white players in the team threaten to boycott the side due to the removal of Yoast, though, he eventually accepts a part on the coaching team of Boone.
The film follows the desire on Boone’s part to try and remove racial divides in the team, but he watches in horror as training continually devolves into racial arguments. However, through significant and rigorous training as well as runs to the Gettysburg cemetery, the team eventually finds both harmony on a racial front and success.
In a bid to halt their success, Boone is told that even a single defeat will see him lose his job. The Titans, then, go through the entire season undefeated – gaining community support. The rest of the film follows the transformation of Yoast as he fights back against rigging and corruption. It’s a tremendous watch, as the team overcomes everything from internal racism to rigging and corruption to achieve success in the season.
It’s a tremendous film about overcoming persecution together. Are there any other sporting films that can live up to the powerful message that Remembering the Titans offers?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Harry Sheen