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It’s often said that the best moments in sports play out like movies. From long shots winning championships to amazing comebacks to unlikely heroes, the best moments are those you could potentially see on the silver screen.
Sometimes though, it’s one line or a quote that really grabs the attention of a viewer. Whether it’s something inspirational, funny or just stands out, that one quote can sometimes take on a meaning of its own.
Knowing this, let’s take a look at some quotes from sports movies that we may look at as fictional but may resemble more fact. Some of these may even be lessons to teach your kids playing a sport for the first time or developing their athletic ability.
“Quit trying to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring and besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls. They’re more democratic.” – Crash Davis, Bull Durham
Let’s start with one Crash Davis’ gems of wisdom that he tried to instill on “Nuke” LaLoosh in the movie Bull Durham. As LaLoosh tried to strike everyone out that he could, Davis came over to him and told him to try and do less. Calling strikeouts boring and likening it to Fascism while calling ground balls more fun and more Democratic.
Strike outs can be exciting when they pile up, but in this offensive age of baseball, there’s a good chance that the very strike thrown could also be sent over 400 feet into the stands. That’s exciting for the other team but not necessarily the fans of the pitcher’s team. Ground balls can be more manageable and more fun to watch as great plays are more likely to happen.
As for the political ideologies, in a sense it’s not wrong. Ground balls involve the other players to take part in the play, whether it’s an infielder throwing it to first to try and get the out or the ball going through a hole in the infield and an outfielder throwing it in. With a strikeout, the acknowledgment only goes to one person, the pitcher (similar to how credit goes to one leader and ideal with fascism).
It also means that you’re not burning a bullpen arm because of all pitches used in striking out players. It takes three strikes for a strike out, most of the time there’s at least one or two balls, possibly a foul ball or two, which drives up pitch count. If a pitcher were to go specifically for strikeouts each pitch, he’d rack up a high pitch count by the fifth or sixth inning, meaning he’d probably be taken out.
“A team isn’t a bunch of kids out to win. A team is something you belong to, something you feel, something you have to earn.” – Gordon Bombay, The Mighty Ducks
There’s been several variations of this quote in sports movies. Whether it’s Coach Boone in Remember The Titans talking about respecting your teammates whether you like it or not or manager Lou Brown in Major League rallying the troops to make the playoffs just to spite the owner, this type of quote always exists in sports movies.
So why Gordon Bombay? Simple: it may resonate even more now.
We live in a time where the idea of “super teams” continue to dominate the NBA and where the NFL and MLB are constantly watching arms races unfold. Even in college, the super conference schools have started taking over college football, ensuring that teams like Ohio State, Alabama and select others are in the running for the National Championship. This all has an effect on the team dynamic, to the point that it can be questioned if they see a fit or if they’re in it strictly for the money.
Earning a spot on the team has quickly become one of lowest talking points because of the idea of building the best talented team possible. Yes, it’s important to have talent but taking a page from The Mighty Ducks, it’s not the only thing. When a team works togethers and gels fluidly, there’s less limitation that team will have compared to a team full of stars, that may not be as much of a well oiled machine.
“Stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.” – Ty Webb, Caddyshack
One thing that’s haunted up-and-coming athletes is the idea of thinking. While planning the next move is a crucial part of any sport, to plan two steps ahead before making the play is not so much a common mistake but sometimes the start of a nasty habit.
Ty Webb is someone who really doesn’t feel pressure until there’s stakes at play. Part of that has to do with the fact that he’s able to turn off his brain and lock in on what he’s doing now.
It may sound simple but in reality it’s quite difficult. The outside noise from the fans, both home and away, can get in your head. Mix that in with what goes through one’s head as they try to execute the play, and you have a Molotov cocktail mixture. Sometimes it’s better to not think than to overthink.
“The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second.” – Tony D’Amato, Any Given Sunday
Let’s finish off with one of the best football movies of all time. Tony D’Amato’s speech in Any Given Sunday is one of the most important speeches in not only sports movie history, but in cinematic history.
The idea that a player or team can climb out of their lowest spot, inch by inch to escape the basement is one that most people can relate to. We all have our own struggles and losing streaks, but taking that first step, no matter how small, is the start of getting out.
Football, like life, is a game of inches. You can miss something by a couple of seconds or you could be somewhere too early by a couple of seconds. Perfect timing isn’t always going to be a thing, but, how you make up for it is what determines the success of a play or a moment in life.