Pump-Up Speeches from Sports That Will Fire You Up
Do you feel sluggish at the gym? Do you hit the snooze button repeatedly every morning? Are you crippled by heartbreak after seeing that your ex blocked you on Instagram?
It's OK, man, because today is the start of a new you.
Sometimes in life, we need the rallying cry of a stirring locker room speech. But it's impossible to make it through stadium security without being wrestled to the ground on our way through the tunnel.
Well today, I'm bringing the locker room to you.
This list is a compilation of some of the greatest, most rousing speeches in the history of sports. As the title implies, these clips focus on tirades that will "fire you the hell up." So, while Lou Gehrig and Jack Buck vaunt powerful moments behind the microphone, this list leans harder towards the adrenal glands than the tear ducts.
Put the Red Bull down (you won't need it), and let's do this.
Coach Gary Gaines Prepares His Team for a Championship Game
“I want you to put each other in your hearts forever because forever is about to happen here in just a few minutes.”
This speech has the assistance of an Explosions in the Sky soundtrack, which turns any topic of conversation into a highly stimulating experience.
Elaborate guitar work aside, if you're trying to get over a hangover or recent breakup, this video is your regenerative godsend.
Ray Lewis Fires Up the Stanford Basketball Team
“If you ain't pissed off for greatness, then that means you’re OK with being mediocre.”
Look at the above quote.
If we replaced every high school guidance counselor in the country with that soundbite emblazoned on a Ray Lewis Fathead, we'd have a 98 percent graduation rate nationwide.
Ray Lewis has a handful of speeches that will inspire you to do bicycle crunches in your cubicle, but being "pissed off for greatness" is an everlasting moniker that you can put on a tombstone.
Western Kentucky Football Coach Rallies His Team
“…a Hilltopper is a badass dude who stands at the top of a hill. And he’s got scars all over his body from the fight he took to get on top of that hill and to stay on top of that hill.”
YouTube is a treasure trove of inspiring speeches, but the authenticity of coach Lance Guidry makes his pregame tirade stand out.
When a coach is describing your team's mascot as a "badass dude," you know you've committed to the right program.
Coach Bombay’s “Ducks Fly Together”
“When the winds blow hard and the sky is black…ducks fly together.”
All kids sports movies have two things: hilariously timed fart gags and stirring locker room speeches.
In D2: The Mighty Ducks, Team USA Hockey rallies with a collaborative, passionate tribute to the flying habits of migratory birds.
If you can get through this speech without crying like Knowshon Moreno before kickoff, then you're a stronger man than I am.
Coach Brooks’ “Great Moments” Speech
“I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ‘em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”
The story of the 1980 United States Ice Hockey team's improbable win over the Soviet Union is inspiring, but the pregame soliloquy from Coach Brooks is enough to trigger a full-blown application to graduate school, 250 push-ups and a trip to you ex-girlfriend's house to "explain things."
After watching this clip, putting planet earth on notice won't seem like such a complicated endeavor. The world is yours for the taking, man.
Michael Irvin’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech
“Look up, get up and don’t ever give up.”
During his induction speech to the Football Hall of Fame, Michael Irvin pays homage to the players that paved the way and gives a little parting advice to those of you at home.
The image of No. 88's tear-riddled face is powerful.
You could watch this clip on mute and still be fired up enough to set a one-rep max at the squat rack.
Coach Norman Dale Has a Message for His Team
“If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book, we're gonna be winners.”
There's nothing profound or showy about coach Norman Dale's locker room speech to the Hickory High Hoosiers.
He doesn't scream like a drill sergeant or drop-kick a bench in half to prove his point, mostly because he doesn't need theatrics.
When you have dramatic timing like Gene Hackman, all you need is a solemn stare to inspire greatness.
Tim Tebow’s “The Promise”
“I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will the rest of the season.”
Following an upset loss to Ole Miss, Tim Tebow does the most Tim Tebow thing every by delivering an impassioned, misty-eyed promise to Florida Gator nation.
He closes by saying, "You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God bless."
Ultimately, the Florida Gators would go on to win the rest of their games, including a National Championship victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Muhammad Ali's “I'm Bad” Speech
“I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale, only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean I make medicine sick.”
Picking a favorite Muhammad Ali quote is about as difficult as texting after last call, but his 1974 ode to being bad is a good place to begin your search.
Prior to the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" match against George Foreman, Ali—who was a major underdog—let loose with one of the most quotable tirades in sports history.
This clip will inspire you to punch a few holes in your living room wall, but the energy rush is absolutely worth your security deposit.
High School Coach Delivers a Speech for the Ages
“Who am I? I am a champion. Who am I!? I am a champion. Who am I!? I am a champion.”
This high school coach deserves serious respect for having the theatrical sense to use his boom box for added effect.
No one gets amped like teenage boys, and this coach knows how to turn a locker room into an insane asylum.
I don't know exactly what happened in this game, but my guess is this team won by 94 points and left a few unfortunate competitors bloodied on the court.
"A Game of Inches"
"Life's this game of inches, so is football...The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break in the game, every minute and every second. On this team, we fight for that inch."
Watch this clip from Any Given Sunday with caution. After viewing this scene, there's a good chance that you'll elbow-drop a coffee table in half and throw your TV out of a third-story window.
Coach Tony D'Amato's words do to a person's adrenal glands what dousing a pack of Marlboro Lights in gasoline does to your smoking break.
You've been warned.
Jim Valvano at the 1993 ESPY Awards
“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. That’s what I’m going to try to do every minute that I have left. I will thank God for the day and the moment I have. If you see me, smile and give me a hug. That’s important to me too."
After winning the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award during the 1993 ESPYs, former college basketball coach Jim Valvano gives one of the most poignant acceptance speeches in recent memory.
Valvano—who died of cancer just eight weeks after giving his speech—announces the creation of the Jimmy V Foundation and provides an emotional reminder that life is fleeting.
If you don't have goosebumps on your arms by the end of this one, seek a doctor immediately because there's something wrong with your central nervous system.