Is your heart pounding? Are your palms sweating and your pupils dilating? Is there an irrepressible roar building inside you?
You must be watching a stirring sports movie moment.
Sports are a great unifier. Whether you’re an Olympic champion, an NHL sharpshooter, or a rec league TSSC basketball player vying for 5th place in the consolation bracket, we can all relate to both the glory and the heartbreak of sports.
Our team of researchers [read: me at 2am surfing YouTube with Cheetos crumbs down my front] compiled a comprehensive, highly scientific list of the Eight Greatest Sports Movie Moments ever, each of which cast a bright light on what sports teach us about life. My selection method was simple: the sweatier the palms, the more profound the moment.
Disagree with any of the inclusions? Leave a comment below and let us know.
8. Rocky IV: Training Montage
No one ever said that Rocky IV is a great movie. But even fewer people said they weren’t moved to sprint up a mountain and lift a wheelbarrow full of all their friends after watching this. Have you ever wanted anything more than Rocky wants to topple this square-jawed Russian? And how far are you willing to go to get it? Probably a little farther now.
*5/8 sweaty palms
7. Karate Kid: You’re the Best
Obviously the Karate Kid was going to make this list. Maybe you thought it would be the Halloween fight scene when Mr Miyagi saves young Daniel from a throng of skeletons. But in the end, it was tough to top this triumphant display of pre-pubescent martial arts. Admit it: “You’re the Best” still plays in your head every time you score a goal.
*5.5/8 sweaty palms.
6. Mighty Ducks 2: Triple Deke V 2.0
Sports movies are regrettably male-dominated, with a few notable exceptions. This audacious heroine helped break down the gender wall by becoming a wall, backstopping the Ducks to victory over fearsome Team Iceland. This paved the way for future breakthroughs, including a certain Most Valuable Primate.
But I’ve gotta say, if you deke three times before the blue line while the goalie counts along, and then come to a full stop before shooting, is it really a deke? Maybe America shouldn’t make hockey movies.
*6/8 sweaty palms
5. Rudy: Quitting
Thinking of giving up on this list? This tough-love janitor will make you think again. Don’t be discouraged by the setbacks. The things that you want the most are the hardest to get.
Years later, this speech helped Samwise Gamgee make those final gruelling steps to the top of Mt. Doom.
*6/8 sweaty palms
4. Mary Kom: Magnificent Mary
This one probably didn’t make anyone else’s sports movie moments list, but it represents a historic moment in Indian cinema and athletics. Mary Kom was a boxer from a remote part of the country who had to overcome just about every form of discrimination on her trailblazing route to three world championships. You won’t find a single Bollywood song and dance in this portrayal of her life, for better or worse.
*6.5/8 sweaty palms
3. Field of Dreams: Doc saves child from hotdog
This timeless classic is nostalgic and sentimental in all the right ways. Next time you refuse to lend your spare pair of socks to a teammate in need, remember that Archie ‘Doc’ Graham gave up his youth and lifelong dream of baseball to help out a friend.
*7/8 sweaty palms
2. Coach Carter: Lockout
The emotional climax of this tour de force isn’t a buzzer-beating, championship-clinching jump shot. Coach Carter believes that sports are about learning how to win in life, not just on the court. But after imposing a basketball lockout because his high-flying team is bad at math, the local community revolts. This could be the coach’s greatest challenge since Snakes on a Plane.
*7.5/8 sweaty palms
1. Any Given Sunday: Now, what are you gonna do?
No self-respecting countdown could end with anything else. This is a raw, wrenching, classic Pacino monologue that will stir up something inside you that you didn’t even know was there.
Now….what are you gonna do?
*8/8 sweaty palms. If I were an octopus, and octopi had hands, they’d all be sweaty.
~Written by Sandeep Kembhavi