I am not the most athletic person you’ll ever meet. I always enjoyed gym class because it was time with my friends. We had fun with archery, cross-country skiing and a game we called off-the-wall ball. I didn’t need to be athletic, I just had to be willing to play and to laugh at myself. And that is one talent I have always been proud of. In fact, my favorite award from all of my years at school is from 7th grade home economics, Most Likely to Laugh at Herself. It’s a talent that has served me well.
That doesn’t mean I don’t love and appreciate athletic talent when I see it. I grew up watching football, basketball and hockey. Tennis was always on in the summer; bowling, the one sport I did participate in outside of dance, something I didn’t mind having on in the background as I did my math homework on a Saturday afternoon. The Olympics are major events that I look forward to all year. I come from Syracuse, New York. Winters were spent climbing the hill to the Dome for an SU basketball game, or heading to the War Memorial to see the AHL hockey team, the Syracuse Crunch. My cousins played soccer, basketball and baseball; my sister rode horses competitively. I have a healthy appreciate for sports and the talent they require.
I also love a good story, if you hadn’t figured that out. Which means I am prime for adoring any sports movie that crosses my path. Like any good American, I love watching the underdogs win the day, a person raise themselves up over adversity and get to prove to themselves, and the world, just how good they are.
Luckily, Hollywood loves these stories too and for my part, I haven’t come across one yet I haven’t enjoyed: Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Miracle, Seabiscuit, Cool Runnings, Secretariat, The Blind Side. I love them all.
What brings this on is I finally saw The Blind Side this past weekend. I enjoyed every minute of the inspiring tale of a talented athlete who just needed someone to believe in him. Sandra Bullock was delightful as the tough as nails woman who pushes everyone around her to be better. She definitely impressed me and deserved that Oscar she earned for the role. I especially loved the real-life photos of Michael Oher included in the credits. As much as I enjoy the drama and fun of the fictional account, I always love learning what happened after Hollywood is done with the story. It reminds me after a good movie that what I just saw, some version of it actually happened! Real people lived the story and proved to themselves and the world that they could do it. Sports is a great illustration of triumph over adversity. An athlete faces very real and concrete obstacles: defenders, bad breaks, their own bodies, families or location. It is the ultimate metaphor for life. Very cool.
So, have you watched your inspirational sports story for today? If not, may I suggest The Blind Side?