OK, maybe you’re not a sports authority. Maybe you don’t know an ERA from an RBI. Maybe you think Oakland A’s outfielder Coco Crisp is a cereal.
You may even assume “In the paint,” has something to do with a three-inch brush doused in a can of Valspar.
No matter. You don’t have to be a cowboy to love westerns, and it isn’t necessary to run 100 meters in 10 flat to have a favorite sports’ flick.
Among the countless sports movies released through the years, you may have an all-time favorite. However, today your vote doesn’t matter. I may be biased but my list is so good that viewing each one should be required by law.
We’ll start with the best all-time sleeper—“Brian’s Song.”
This is a true story of two Chicago Bears’ rookies. It was actually made for TV in 1971, but ranks as one of the greatest sports movies of all time.
The story involves two most unlikely athletes to become best friends for many reasons. Brian Piccolo was a white, plodding, tough fullback and an ultimate prankster.
Gale Sayers was black; a gifted, explosive running back who led a quiet and reserved life.
Over time they became best friends and the first black/white roommates in NFL history.
Eventually, Piccolo, 26, lost a battle against cancer and Sayers never left his side.
After receiving a coveted Bears’ award, Sayers ended his talk by saying, “I love Brian Piccolo, and I’d like all of you to love him too. And tonight when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.”
The final scene showed Piccolo and Sayers jogging in a park, with a narrator saying, “Brian Piccolo will be remembered not how he died but how he lived . . . Oh, how he lived.”
This is my favorite. It is inspirational, tearful and forever memorable.
Others, in no certain order, include:
“Hoosiers,” (1986) the true story where a tiny Indiana high school defeats a big city Goliath to win the ’54 state championship.
“Miracle,” (2004) a moving story of a bunch of college athletes who upset the mighty Soviet Union in the ‘80 Olympics.
Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) told his players, “If we played them (Soviets) 10 times, they’d probably win nine. But not this game . . . not tonight.”
“Cinderella Man,” (2005) depression era boxing film about hard-luck heavyweight James Braddock. It was Russell Crowe’s best.
“Field of Dreams” (1989) remains sports magic.
As John Kinsella walks towards the cornstalks at dusk his son Ray (Kevin Costner) calls out, “Hey, Dad. Want to have a catch?” Wow . . . Dads and Sons.
We’ll talk “Caddy Shack,” “Chariots of Fire,” “Remember the Titans,” “The Longest Yard,” “Heaven can Wait,” “Rocky,” “The Natural,” and “Damn Yankees” another time.
Ted Spud Buss is a former TRN sports editor.