Films that focus on sports attract audiences for a plethora of reasons, the lure of competition, the innate desire to route for an underdog, the nostalgic memories of youth and childhood, and the seemingly heroic feats associated with athletics that can turn a little league game into a legend a special moment into a myth maker. Here’s a glimpse into a handful these films and what makes them special.
The Program – An intriguing fictional take from the inside into the storylines beyond the game of college football. From the pressure put on a Heisman candidate, the adjustment period of a freshman, and how the desire to succeed drives a star to use PEDs, also how money and other benefits fall into the laps of athletes, this film shines a spotlight on elements of the game that go beyond the field.
Rudy – The fact that the story is based on a real person only adds to how encouraging it becomes. An example of how an “Average Joe” can overcome the naysayers to achieve a personal goal through perseverance and hard work to play for the most storied collegiate football program Notre Dame. Sure, it seems to be on TV all the time, but that’s because people love it.
The Express – While the story of running back Ernie Davis may have a sad ending, the story is one that needed to be told. The successor turned teammate of Jim Brown from Syracuse University to the Cleveland Browns especially given the time frame of the civil rights movement is both enjoyable and educational. Ernie Davis’ tragic diagnosis of Leukemia demonstrates how the course of one’s life can change in a moment and also sadly wonder what could have come of this rising star.
The Rookie – If you were given a second chance to live out your dreams would you take it? From a high school teacher to a major league pitcher, why not? We often preach about striving to realize dreams and not letting anything stand in your way.
61* – Even though the home run record’s been broken, the myth of Babe Ruth still shines bright. Therefore, the historical undertaking and chase of an epic milestone by the star (Mantle) and the record-breaker (Maris) grabs your attention. The film highlights the personal pressures both faced from the media and fans a like.
These films are based on athletics, but what shines through is their ability to demonstrate an individual’s ability to fight through adversity. Each film focuses on triumphs and tragedies of athletes. Providing an insiders look beyond the game.
Written by Mike Colavita