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The greatest sports films

There were many possibilities to consider on what to post this week, and it was very difficult to make a choice.

The choices were narrowed down to two, and, as much as I hoped to find it within myself to write about the recent bickering and bumping on the roads of the NASCAR tracks, I simply couldn’t do it. I will never understand NASCAR as long as I shall live. It does deserve its respect as a sport, but only a specific group of people can pay attention to it. People who understand how cars and circles work.

Another idea came to mind last night after viewing an inspirational movie about an inspirational American leader. The holiday movie season has come upon us, and it made me think back and reflect on my favorite films over the years. I realized that a larger number of them were focused on different sports topics. Thus, I present to you, Reader, a list of 10 exceptional (and mostly inspirational) sports-related movies to enjoy over the holiday season.

1. “Hoosiers.” This is widely considered one of the greatest sports films of all time. The story centers on the coach of a small-sized, thin Indiana Hoosiers basketball team in the 1950s and their inspirational trip to the state finals despite demons in the coach’s past.

2. “The Sandlot.” A young boy moves to a new town and makes his place among a group of baseball-playing kids, who lose an autographed baseball signed by Babe Ruth to a hungry neighborhood beast. Hilarity is bound to ensue, although my synopsis could sound rather dark when read without a previous knowledge of this family film. No, the beast does not eat the children. Not all of them, anyway.

3. “Remember the Titans.” After racial segregation is ended at a high school in Virginia in the ’70s, the head football coach (played by Denzel Washington) must unite his athletes on and off the field in order to win the state title. Funny, moving and backed with a great soundtrack, this movie is a favorite to many.

4. “Field of Dreams.” Kevin Costner stars as a farmer who begins to have strange, mystical thoughts that lead to his decision to construct and provide a baseball field on his farm for the ghosts of deceased major-leaguers. If you like baseball, you will probably like this movie. If not, the guy who plays Darth Vader also has a supporting role, so there you go.

5. “Rudy.” A small athlete with dreams of Notre Dame football glory must give his very best during tough circumstances to have a shot at playing with the team. One of the few movies I have maybe almost cried in. But I didn’t.

6. “Miracle.” The film focuses on the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team and its motivating path to one of the greatest upsets in all of sports history against a powerhouse Soviet Union team. This is the best hockey movie you can find . . . although that isn’t saying much.

7. “Cool Runnings.” The story follows a group of high-caliber Jamaican track-and-field sprinters that forms the first-ever Jamaican bobsled team and their motivational underdog run at the 1988 Winter Olympics. This is a very funny sports comedy that always provides a smile.

8. “A League of Their Own.” Tom Hanks stars in this fictional film about a professional all-female baseball league created during World War II. The film has a great, funny cast, and the actresses can really play ball.

9. “Seabiscuit.” The plot focuses on the true story of an undersized racehorse during the Great Depression. As the horse and its ownership begin to win, the hope of a struggling nation becomes stronger as it follows the success of the horse. This is one of the most underrated sports movies ever made.

10. While I cannot provide summaries here, I cannot fail to mention my favorite childhood sports movies made mostly for kids, but enjoyed by all: “Little Giants,” “The Big Green,” “Kicking and Screaming,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “Rookie of the Year,” “Angels in the Outfield,” “The Rookie” and “Space Jam.”

There you have it. If you’re looking for a fun trip into the stories of sports, look no further than to the movies of this list. Enjoy.

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