Since getting into roller derby I’ve found myself much more interested in team-mate and team/coach dynamics. When I say ‘much more interested’, I mean I’ve gone from having watched The Mighty Ducks maybe 10 years ago to having the sudden urge to watch ALL THE SPORTS FILMS. On a recent two-day spell off work sick, I managed to consume no fewer than FIVE sports movies from my blanket-fort-of-illness on the sofa. They were:

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Miracle (2004)

Based on the true story of Herb Brooks, the coach that led the 1980 US ice hockey team to an unlikely triumph against the heavily favoured Soviet team. Who can resist a film that sees a “ragtag squad of college kids” go up against a “legendary juggernaut”? I loved the dedication to training and teamwork exemplified in this film. My favourite quote: “The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back!” Amen.

league of their own poster

A League of Their Own (1992)

It’s nice to watch a sports film with a female cast for a change (if you know of any other good ones, holla at me in the comments!). A fictionalised account of the real life All-American Girls Baseball League, a women’s league set up during World War II to keep America interested in baseball, this movie won’t change your life but is still a fun watch. The ending is schmaltzy as hell, BUT… Lori Petty! Geena Davis! (Somewhat weirdly) Madonna!

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Friday Night Lights (2004)

Friday Night Lights looks at the manifold pressures heaped upon high school  (American) football players, and their coach, in a small town where football is God. Set in 1988 in Odessa, Texas and based on a true story, this film really tugged at my heart-strings. Favourite quote: “Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down, because you told them the truth. And that truth is that you did everything that you could. There wasn’t one more thing that you could’ve done.”

Whip It Poster

Whip It (2009)

How could I not include the only wide-release feature film about roller derby in my sick-day-movie-marathon? Having seen this a couple of times, I find myself skipping past the indie-boy love story bits (bleugh) to the skating and female bonding. So many penalties though guys… so many. Favourite quote: “Put some skates on; be your own hero.”

We could be king poster

We Could be King (2014)

The only documentary of the bunch, and for me the most affecting. When a budget crisis in Philadelphia forces the closure of two dozens schools and the integration of Germantown School students into long-term rival school Martin Luther King, football is the thing that brings them together. The boys coach, laid-off from Germantown and working as an unpaid volunteer at MLK, is awe-inspiring to watch. Favourite quote:  “Humility: not only playing for yourself, but playing for the man right next to you. Sacrificing for the man next to you. That’s brotherhood.”

What’s your favourite film to watch for team/coach dynamics? 

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