It’s no secret that COVID-19 is affecting everything that we have known in our daily lives. From work and school to sports, the world feels a bit lost.
If there is a plus side to being quarantined, it’s having the chance to do things that you have maybe always wanted to, whether it be journaling or tackling your watchlist. While it’s hard to ignore the lost opportunities due to cancellations and the sports moments we would have loved to see, that does not mean we cannot relive sports, even if is adapted or fictional.
From the silliness of The Benchwarmers, to the more serious of Rocky, there is quite the selection of sports movies available to us. We may not be able to watch our favorite athletes live, but we can rekindle our bonds with our favorite on-screen performers.
This is Movie Madness, a list of the top sports movies composed by a number of Marist athletes. Whether it’s rewatching beloved favorites or diving into something new, this list has a number of movies to keep a sports lover busy in quarantine.
What better to lift our spirits than the miracle on ice? This film follows the 1980 men’s Olympic hockey team, headed by Herb Brooks (Kurt Russel), as they make their way towards the gold medal. Russia was the obvious favorite to win it all, but the U.S. men pulled through in the first medal round. The United States then went on to take gold with a win over Finland.
Not only is this film a classic underdog story, and highlights one of the biggest upsets in sports history, but it also provides several life lessons throughout its story. Junior lacrosse goalkeeper, Delaney Galvin, talks about one of her favorite scenes as being when Brooks had the men running countless sprints while yelling, “When you put on that jersey, you represent yourself and your teammates. And the name on the front is way more important than the name on the back!”
“This is something that has stuck with me when playing sports throughout my entire career, especially here at Marist,” Galvin explains. “This has taught me that we all come from different backgrounds, but when we put on the same jersey, we not only represent ourselves but our entire program, and that unifies our team. We remind each other every day…to always play for one another, not just ourselves.”
Galvin was not alone in this, sharing her favorite scene with another lacrosse player, Joe Tierney. The senior midfielder said, “Miracle is my favorite sports movie because of how inspiring and empowering the movie is in regards to conquering the impossible.”
Baseball twins, Robbie and Reece Armitage both voted for Miracle as well, saying that it’s “a great lesson on perseverance” and “it’s one of the greatest moments in all of sports and they made it perfectly.”
Miracle is a great film to have on repeat during this global pandemic, as it lifts spirits and inspires us to go after the near impossible.
Two things we miss: money and baseball. SO, let’s live through Brad Pitt (something I think each of us have wanted to do; we will use quarantine as our excuse) and change the game of baseball for two hours and thirteen minutes.
The film, based on the book by Michael Lewis, highlights the general manager of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane (Pitt), as he tries to cover all the bases in reinventing his team. With the help of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane seeks to go against the traditional baseball grain.
Redshirt junior defender for Marist men’s lacrosse, Steve Viola selected this as his favorite sports film, along with junior pitcher Trevor Backman.
“Who doesn’t love to see a team at the bottom make a playoff push?” said Backman.
Moneyball is yet another underdog story to sink our teeth into to activate our sports commraidere. The brilliance behind Beane and Brand is admirable, making us long to do something just as out of the box.
“Any other team wins the world series, good for them. They’re drinking champagne, they’ll get a ring. But if we win, on our budget with this team, we’ll change the game. And that’s what I want, I want it to mean something,” said Beane.
Who knows who we will become as soon as this quarantine is over? The next Beane and Brand, within sports or outside, may just be around the corner.
Remember the Titans
The intense football culture in southern states is unknown territory for most of us at Marist. Each game is treated as a holiday. In Marist terms, each game is as important as the first party of the year, Rossi’s sandwiches, or ordering Campus Deli five dollar pizza on Wednesdays. It’s a can’t miss event.
In the south, going against this way of life was unheard of, and in fact, was heavily discouraged. That is until the school board in Alexandria, Virginia was forced to integrate schools. The foundation of southern football was in jeopardy.
Herman Boon (Denzel Washington) is the new head coach of the newly integrated T.C. High School football team, above the previous caucasian coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton). This unknown territory made for uncomfortable situations and its fair share of challenges. But, there is a reason why the film is called Remember the Titans.
Freshman attacker for women’s lacrosse Jillian Canner and redshirt senior midfielder on the men’s lacrosse team, Jack Zukowski, land on Remember the Titans as their favorite sports flick.
“It shows how a community was divided by color and one man came in and bonded them forever through something they all loved,” Canner said. “At the end, they came together to win the championship, which was very inspiring.”
This was not done through any sort of hand-holding. Boone was strict, but it proved to have worked on the young boys. “We will be perfect in every aspect of the game. You drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. You fumble the football, and I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts and then you will run a mile. Perfection. Let’s go to work.”
Redshirt freshman Glenmour Leonard-Osbourne, a member of the Marist football team and track & field squad, sees this coaching style as admirable. “It’s a great example of how unity and leadership can dramatically change a sports team, no matter what the circumstances are.”
Luke Strnad, a redshirt sophomore quarterback for the Red Foxes, also praises the movie and Boone for how he faced what seemed like an impossible situation. “I was inspired by the true story….During the 1970s he gathered both African American males and White males and made them work together to be a successful football team. He made sure they were playing for a bigger picture rather than the color of their skin.”
Rather than football dividing the area apart, the story shows sports bring people together in the end.
“You make sure they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans!”
“You’re killin’ me Smalls!”
A movie that encapsulates what our little baseball and softball careers were like. No matter the weather, time of day, or equipment, the childlike love for baseball prevailed all of those things. It’s simple to say that this is a classic sports movie. It’s one that needs to be checked off a watchlist immediately.
“A bunch of kids playing baseball with the bare minimum because they love the game. Then Benny makes it to the MLB! Every kid’s dream,” said Gene Napolitano, junior catcher for Marist baseball.
The adventures the boys encountered, baseball-related or not, are fun-loving, funny, and brings out the child in all of us. Let’s live through Squints, Smalls, Benny, Ham, Timmy, Tommy, Yeah-Yeah, and Kenny, as they remind us it’s not about the glitz and glamour of uniforms that make a team. It’s the simple love for the game.
The Blind Side
This film captures the true story of Michael Oher, a former NFL offensive tackle. Oher dealt with several childhood issues, including going in and out of school while being homeless most of his life. The Tuohy family eventually takes him in as their own. The soon to be NFL player began to realize he had quite the future ahead of himself. This transition changes both Oher and the family for the better.
Kerri Gutenberger, a freshman attacker for the women’s lacrosse team, selected this film as her favorite in the sports category. She found it to be encouraging and she applied a variety of the lessons in the film in her own life.
“This movie was truly an inspiration about overcoming adversity. The protagonist Michael Oher devoted his time to better himself scholastically as well as athletically while facing the challenges of life. This movie taught me how to continue to push myself,” said Gutenberger.
Need another Olympic fix? Four Jamaican bobsledders have the dream to make it to the Winter Olympics. An important note: these athletes have never seen snow before. Yep. Never.
Isabelle Stockman, a junior attack member of the women’s lacrosse team, brought this movie to light in our poll.
“They encompass success from unlikely participants. [They] endure extreme backlash as a result of their presence in the sport, which I find even more heroic. Sports are hard enough, but then having to go through discrimination and criticism makes it all that much more difficult.”
With the help of a former successful bobsledder, the team works to be Olympic material. This underrated sports movie is one for the books.
This is the closest to live sports that we may come to for quite some time. And maybe a sports movie marathon is such a bad thing to take up some time. At this point I will take what I can get to make me feel the same thrill I feel for a Super Bowl, March Madness, NBA playoffs, and MLB Opening Day. In the words of Brooks we shall watch, “again…again…again…”
Final List of Movies Voted on in the Poll
- Miracle (4)
- Moneyball (2)
- Remember the Titans (4)
- The Longest Yard (2)
- Sandlot (1)
- Waterboy (1)
- Rudy (1)
- Semi-Pro (1)
- The Blind Side (1)
- Field of Dreams (1)
- Cool Runnings/ Breaking Away (1)
- Gridiron Gang (1)
- Forever Strong (1)
- Coach Carter (1)
- Hoosiers (1)
- The Express: The Ernie Davis Story (1)
Edited by Lily Caffrey-Levine
Header Image by Kristin Flanigan