Kevin Costner had the audacity to do a sports movie—several, actually. While everything else was a chick flick (yes, even 'The Postman'was a chick flick). His best work—from a fan's perspective—was 'Field of Dreams.'
Herein, we present memories of sports triumphs past. Where sports is even better than the imaginary games we played in our minds as children—alas to never make a million dollars playing the games we love (nor acting like we are playing the games we love).
Kevin you bastard, this one is about your Viagra kicking in at weird times. (Are you kidding me that you would actually cheat on Jon Travolta's wife!?!?)
I remember this coming out right before Tom Browning (Cincinnati Reds) pitched a perfect game (he got busted for drugs later—another slideshow for the future on the evolution of the Cincinnati sports crime wave).
Above is the modern version, but back in the day the tracks were dirt, the athletes were exactly like the nursery rhyme—"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick..."
Talent and determination alone made it to the top. Synthetic was not even a word yet (well, it certainly was not used as it is today).
Field of Dreams imagined their redemption. Pete Rose is banking on their being forgiven. In the day and age where steroids and records associated with drug users are being upheld, this case shows that there is more than meets the eye.
Certainly the excuses of yesteryear are better than today's. Heck, Babe Ruth should be the home run king still simply for the amount of home runs he would have hit without the hangover.
Guys admit it. This is a damn good baseball movie—and the cleanest Madonna ever looked. It was a great movie and inspired us and reassured us that baseball was the national pastime which could survive wars.
Vince Papale. I did not know who he was until this movie came out. But wow, he realized every fan's dream (in real life he was semi-pro, not a bar game walk-on).
He came out of nowhere and picked up for Donovan McNabb—whoops, that's this year's Disney story (at least Eagles fans are hoping). A classic move for a hungry city.
Roy Hobbs was the Michael Vick of his day. Too fast and too loose. Came back later relatively obscure by that time.
What happened? He learned his lesson and returned not only himself, but an entire team to form.
If you build it, he will come. OK, yeah, it turns out to be a chick flick in the end (boo hoo, Daddy with his emotional issues came back and reconciled from the grave because your psychologist could not help you so you moved to a farm because you flunked the firefighters exam—the two fall backs from being a professional athlete).
But up until the last ten minutes, this was what baseball should have been and what we believe it was—and what it certainly is not today (thank you Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and steroid cast...)
America was hurting—no gas, no political action, and no pride—then came a bunch of regular kids with the working class coach and—BAM!
Instant inspiration and a victory which if it was not taped would surely have never been believed. It was the day the machine lost to the mortal.
James J. Braddock showed us what one person can do for himself—believe in themselves.
The movie was overhyped for an unaccepting public post-September 11th, which is why it would have done much better if the release would have been delayed a few years. Watch it now and you will realize that this real life story was as good as the marketing portrayed it to be.
We all wanted to believe that our hearts would carry us—no matter how small, short, or unskilled we were. Most of us gave up on this dream to work behind a desk. Rudy did not and he received a moment on the gridiron which most of us secretly still dream of today.
The gruffy coach with a mean streak (a.k.a. Bobby Knight). You love him, you hate him, and you are scared of him. He coaches your kids to the championship. Inspires every high school basketball team west of the New York-Pennsylvannia border. (Oh, and turns out to be a chick flick too—thanks Barbara Hershey!)
The greatest of Philadephia sports stories that never happened. Rocky, the lovable loser, becomes a winner because of a fluke second chance.
It is inspiring, it is amazing, and will be cherished. Not only was this one a classic, but the last one—as crazy as it was—inspired every child in us that it is never too late.