Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | August 20, 2008

Summer Sports Flicks

Went outta town. Sat on a beach. Got a little sun. Maybe the sun fried what was left of the brain. Dunno. Anyway, I found something worth sharing. It wasn’t “Jaws”, it wasn’t “Bees”, and it wasn’t even outside. And yes, I know it’s the heretical thing to do with the Olympics on and all, but I can’t understand why in this day and age we don’t have an ESPN-1, ESPN-2 and ESPN-3 type of coverage of these things by now so that we’d have a reasonable chance of seeing what we want… all of it… and without the blather I keep muting. So as always, I had to do something else…

I watched a good sports flick instead. I share it with you here.. because I guess that’s what we do. And especially since I’m NOT a baseball fan and it’s a baseball movie… I mention it because… well… I liked it. It’s by the director of one of my favorite all-time family sports movies, “The Sandlot” (1993)…. also a baseball movie. Yes, we played a fair amount of baseball in our time. Everybody did back in the bad old days before we had choices, before lacrosse, and before we started playing football 365 days a year “’cause we could”, and soccer the rest of the time… er… uh… y’know… whatever! And “The Sandlot”… well… seemed in so many ways like the story of my life… the story of so many lives… how I could I do other than enjoy it? Really… if I had a nickel for every rec’ I’ve given of this puppy…

All of which means I came predisposed… which contrary to rumor, doesn’t mean I live my life in a trash can awaiting Monday’s pick-up. Pick-up’s Friday in my ‘hood. No, I’m simply suggesting I’m not your most unbiased man alive. But you knew that. I mean, did I say I played football 365 days a year? Neighborhood football… touch-but-it-looks-like-tackle ball? With warm-up photo-op pass-and-catch “for the front page”? Right after delivering the evening paper with all the guys and until dark or whenever “Mom” called to “get home”. Sometimes she’d ring a bell, but when she did a “drive by” – it was worse. Others sent out the Italian grandmothers… worse still. And then of course the “maximum end of the world” could occur if any home deployed the ISSSDKRO (“In Some Serious Stuff Kid Retrieval Object”) known colloquially as “The Dad”. ISSSDKRO was guaranteed to make someone “disappear” and upset the team picking process for a couple of days.

Anyway, the movie I’m recommending is ‘The Final Season’ (2007) . It’s about a small town high school baseball team in Iowa that’s won the State Championships something like 18 times beating schools many, many times its size in the process. It’s a true story, a study of character, and the type of film that while telling a story you can figure out… still makes it interesting with a number of turns here and there that makes it worth watching. In truth, I almost put it aside when I got it home and on looking more closely saw that Tom Arnold was in it… but fortunately he only plays a small cameo role. I think you’ll like it.


  1. I love sports movies like this. Much more than watching them “real time.” I think it’s because I enjoy the “behind the scenes” blather.

    Yeah, I know…I’m such a girl…I LIKE the blather behind the Olympics though some of it has been rather lame this year.

    Thanks for the fond memories of growing up. I think I shall write about that on my own blog.

  2. The Sandlot is indeed a great movie! I’ll have to check out “The Final Season” for sure, because I LOVE baseball!

    By the way, have you ever seen “The Rookie” with Dennis Quaid (2001 or 2002, I believe)? It is a wonderful, true story, and totally clean (rated G!).

    Another great recent sports flick is “We are Marshall.” I could list more, but I won’t. I’m out.

  3. Thanks Phillipa and Fr. James for stopping by!

    “The Final Season” has a few bad words I think. “The Rookie” was great, too. Always been a Denis Quaid fan… even if he had a few bombs. Haven’t seen “We Are Marshall”… came close to it.. I think it was Matthew McC’s rep as a chick flick kind of a guy that made me say, “Hmmmmmmm”. I mean I like the dude and all that, but my macho meter was saying “Hmmmmm”. Your rec should over-ride that. I’d add that “Remember the Titans” was pretty good ’bout one of our local football teams here in the DC area. Don’t remember how “clean” it is… but it’s reasonable. Watched “Facing Giants” you recommended… and that was good enough to put me in the mood for more (thanks!). Also watched “Junction Boys” about The Bear… from ’bout the time when my Dad was stationed in Bryan… and unless you watch the “special features” with Gene Stallings you’ll be puzzled.

    With baseball… can’t believe they’re axing it from both men’s and women’s sports. We have an amazing set of teams there, too. Love fast pitch softball. Our fratball pitcher came from Ohio where guys were raised playing it, too. Anyway… it’s sad to lose a sport just because the competition hasn’t developed.

    For my part, I wish the Olympic coverage focused both 1) on sports and as much of it as we can get, and 2) on sportsmanship. Once upon a time there was a thing called Corinthian Spirit… and from time to time you’ll read that sailors have awarded some “cup” or a Rolex to the fellow who threw the race to save a life rather than those who kept going and “won”… it is in fact the law of the sea… so maybe things are different…. but what isn’t actively encouraged easily fades. For my two bits, if there’s really anything to Olympic Spirit… it should conform more to the Corinthian than what we see. I suspect it does…. but it’s hidden from viewers and apparent only to the sportsmen/women.

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