Best Sports Speeches

I’ve always loved speeches and ones given by athletes, coaches, and other important sports figures are especially touching to me. Here are some (but certainly not all) of my favorites.

1. Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech

It’s a short and sweet type speech but the emotion is so evident. Lou Gehrig was such a great baseball player who had gained so much respect from the Yankees fans over the years. It’s such a famous speech that’s had such an impact and is still celebrated to this day. It’s incredibly quotable and thoughtful to say the least.

2. Jimmy V Speech

Yet another powerful speech from somebody that knew they may not have much time left on Earth. The speech is filled with pathos and was actually used by my English teacher when we were learning about pathos, ethos, and logos because Jimmy uses pathos in such a natural way that really is showcased in his extremely touching delivery. You’ve got to love the heart of this legendary coach, who never lost his vibrant personality even in his final days. This will always be my go to video when I need an extra dose of heart and motivation.

3. Kevin Durant MVP Speech

This was a much more recent speech but still a memorable one. Kevin Durant was the NBA MVP last season and this was his rather long yet touching acceptance speech. The most memorable parts were where he talks fondly of his mother, who is in the crowd beaming up at her son. It’s evident how grateful Durant is to his mom, who he notes did everything possible to make sure he and his brother had a roof over their heads and that they weren’t out in the streets. It’s always nice to see such a humble and gracious player.

4. Stuart Scott ESPY Speech

This popular beloved ESPN announcer lost his fight to cancer early in January. Last summer, he accepted an award at the ESPY’s in the name of Jimmy V, the guy I previously mentioned who gave a famous speech and also lost his battle to cancer. This is such an awesome speech because of the manner that Scott carries himself. He had such a natural grace about him and you can’t help but love that. He was also just a great storyteller and his shout out to Jimmy V made me bawl my eyes out.

5. Rickey Henderson Hall Of Fame Speech

Henderson is a player known for his rather cocky personality on the field. This speech is mostly memorable for how humble he was in it. My favorite part about it is the hilarious personal stories that he adds here. I think it’s hilarious that he had to be bribed in order for him to play baseball.

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“I Hate Christian Laettner” Review

This 30 for 30 or ESPN film, whichever name you prefer, looks at one of the most hated college athletes in the history of the game. It explores many different reasons why the hate for Christian Laettner was so serious. After all, he was just a kid, what did he ever really do to deserve the hate? The film talks to many different people including Christian Laettner himself, his family, Coach K, Coach K’s wife, past teammates, the Fab Five, opponents of his, and many different authors, reporters, etc who wrote books and stories about their hate. Many different perspectives were offered during this film which is what I’ve always loved most about documentaries- especially sports documentaries.

The first reason that they look at is that Laettner was perceived as a rich kid because he attended Duke University and a prep school before that. In reality, Laettner came from a middle class family. His mom was a teacher and his dad was a journalist. He couldn’t afford prep school but they offered a type of work study where he would work these dirty type jobs extremely early in the morning in exchange for his tuition. He only went to Duke because Coach K offered him a full scholarship. This alone gave me personally some new respect for the guy. He didn’t have anything handed to him, he worked for everything he had which is something worthy of respect.

Another reason why people hate Laettner is that he’s a white kid. Some people thought he might be racist or view black people differently since the only black guys on his basketball team were called “Uncle Tom” and things of that sort. Laettner was actually extremely tolerant of other races, maybe even was more against white people than black. His teammates bragged on how impressed they were with his style and his knowledge of hip-hop.

The third reason explored was that he was a bully who preyed on the weak. I actually laughed out loud because they used Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift as the image for a bully. Yes, Laettner was an animal on the court and he was certainly a big trash talker. The way he carried himself and seemed to get away with so much stuff other players wouldn’t get away with was extremely disheartening and irritating. But he also seemed like a good teammate and actually a cool guy off the court. He just knew how to get under people’s skin.

After watching this documentary, I learned a lot about the background of this guy that got such a terrible reputation over the years. I think it’s sad how much people disliked him and how far some people took it. Like it’s actually ridiculous that his 12-year-old sister was called a whore just for being his sister. Like what did she ever do to deserve that? Sometimes the hatred people have isn’t rational and is fairly upsetting. Ultimately, people hated how good he was and I love that the documentary explored that. But I think it wasn’t just one sided, it also showed the reasons behind why people hate him by talking to the sources directly. Overall, it’s one of my favorite ESPN films.

Top Sports Documentaries

These are some of my favorite sports documentaries of all time. I’ve tried to include many different sports in this list but I’m sure I left some out so let me know if I forgot any of your favorites!

1. Undefeated

This documentary won an Oscar for Best Documentary and it’s not hard to see why. It follows an inner city high school in Memphis that’s run by a volunteer coach. The stories of these individual players is so touching and interesting. It just gives audiences a lot of insight into the struggles that these kids have to deal with. This is a documentary that’s pretty impossible not to cry over.

2. Baseball

One of the best documentaries about baseball and an extremely long one at that. It’s a very in depth look at the history of baseball. It makes sure to stick as close to the dates and important decades in the sport as possible. As a whole, it’s just a fun documentary that teaches you a lot about all of the players and dates that are significant for baseball.

3. The Endless Summer

A timeless documentary that changed the direction of surfing documentaries right around. It takes a unique first person point of view that had a way of making audiences feel that they were actually apart of the story. Bruce Brown’s approach to filming and narrating in this feature in general was something that we hadn’t yet seen. He also showed that the theory “less is more” can be a relevant one when used by the right filmmaker.

4. Hoop Dreams

This is a long one but it’s far from boring, the length is perfect for you to get involved in the lives of these two high school basketball players who have dreams of playing in the NBA. That plot sounds like a simple one, what basketball player doesn’t have that dream? But as you take a closer look, you realize the racial and economic challenges that these two African American boys have to deal with. It becomes a lot more about their lives outside of the sport and that’s what keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time.

5. 30 for 30: Fab Five

ESPN 30 for 30 films never disappoint. They always manage to tell such fascinating stories from various points of view. This one in particular revealed a lot about how these underprivileged boys were given the opportunity to play basketball at Michigan. At the time, they came off as being “cocky” and “punks” but this gives us more insight as four of the boys (Chris Webber didn’t want to be apart of it) were interviewed as well as other coaches and reporters around during this time. I gained a lot of respect for them after watching this and seeing how much they truly changed culture and what people thought about them.

6. 30 for 30: Into The Wind

30 for 30 isn’t typically known for being so emotional and heartbreaking. Most of the time, just the facts are being presented and it isn’t exactly tear jerking. However, this story about Terry Fox is bound to make even the hardest of hearts shed a few tears. Canadian Terry Fox was a big runner when his leg was amputated at the age of 19 because of cancer. In 1980, he ends up running across Canada on one leg. His relentless work ethic and pure love for running is so heartwarming and inspiring.

7. We Could Be King

An inspiring look at two Philadelphia rival schools being forced to combine their football programs due to budget cuts. The horrors that these kids go through is really emotional. One of the boys Dontae is a big guy who is extremely sensitive and it breaks your heart when the boy struggles with reading out loud. The coach himself is also an inspiration, he began helping these boys after his close friend was murdered. He wanted to help these boys get away from the realities of their lives and focus on the sport they all love.

8. The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

The Portland Mavericks were an independent team owned by Bing Russell, father of actor Kurt Russell who also did some acting himself. The movie is hilarious but also touching to see these underdogs rise to the top in such hilarious fashion. The people interviewed including Kurt Russell, a batboy, players, coaches, Kurt’s mom, and many more give us new dimensions to the story.

 

Spotlight On: Tim Riggins

Him in that football uniform...

I talk about Friday Night Lights a lot. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time. I think what I love so much about it is how incredibly complex every single character on the show is. They all have more to them than what meets the eye, and that fact is very true when it comes to Tim Riggins. Riggins starts out the show as being this ragged looking guy who doesn’t get along with his teammates and doesn’t care about much at all besides booze and girls. We then learn more about how he lives with his older brother Billy and doesn’t have any parents around that truly care about him. He’s a solid football player but it’s also pretty obvious that his football days won’t go beyond the high school level.

Tim definitely isn’t the most charming of the Friday Night Lights boys. Matt Saracen, the quiet guy with a crush on the coaches daughter who also takes care of his Grandma full time, takes the most charming award by far. But there’s something about Riggins that appeals to audiences. He’s honest and he doesn’t care what people think about him. He does his own thing and people are into that. He becomes a much more likable and charming guy as the series progresses.

Some of the other characters may lose their charm, but Riggins simply becomes more relatable and charming. At one point, he is staying with the Taylor family as he gets back on his feet. He and Julie end up going to a party together and Julie winds up getting drunk. Tim takes her home and takes care of her but Eric walks in and sees them together and automatically assumes that Tim is taking advantage of her and kicks him out of his house. This is obviously a lowpoint but it also shows the more caring side of Tim. He doesn’t defend his actions although he wasn’t in the wrong in this situation. Instead, he handles the punishment that he doesn’t deserve which shows his maturity.

Even though I enjoy his moments of rebellion in terms of entertainment purposes, his more sensitive caring side is who he is. When he and his brother get caught for the chop shop Billy started in order to provide for his family, Tim takes full responsibility for it. Despite the fact Tim just got thrown into the whole thing, he knew that he owed his older brother. Billy had a family to provide for and he couldn’t go to jail so Tim, without any hesitance, went to jail without his brother knowing anything about it.

All of these examples prove that Riggins is a character who isn’t just attractive, he also has a good heart who does what he has to for the people that he loves. I can’t help but love his drunk and just flat out hilarious moments just as much as his others. This proves that he’s a multidimensional character which is really explored throughout the series. As Tim would say, “Texas forever.”

10 Best Baseball Movies

If you can’t already tell based on my posts so far this month, I really love baseball. It’s one of my favorite sports and I also enjoy all movies about the sport. These are my personal favorite movies that are about the game I love so much.

1. The Sandlot

This movie shows the sport in the most innocent and honest way. It’s just a group of young boys who love baseball. They play the sport just for fun in a sandlot. Only one of the boys is actually any good at the sport. Like most movies about baseball, it’s about so much more than just that. We get to watch these boys come of age and interact with each other. It’s such an uplifting and timeless movie.

2. Field Of Dreams

This is a classic movie about Ray, a farmer in Iowa who begins hearing a voice whisper to him, “If you build it, they will come.” He then sees a vision of a baseball diamond and builds a baseball field by plowing under his corn. The famous deceased baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson begins showing up, and only Ray can see him. He soon realizes this is happening because of his father, whom idolized Jackson. His father has previously passed away and didn’t really have a good relationship with his son. All in all, the movie focuses a lot on our dreams (obviously) and that sometimes you just have to put your trust into another person, even when you don’t know what the outcome might be.

3. The Natural

Roy Dobbs was an upcoming star pitcher who was full of potential. One night, a woman lures him into her hotel room and shoots him. After that, Dobbs goes off the grid for 16 years. He starts to play the game again sixteen years later, at the age of 35. He was considered “The best that never was,” and he tries to prove that name wrong. This movie is just one of those feel good movies that you can’t help but love. It’s extremely inspirational and you can’t help but love the charm of Robert Redford.

4. A League Of Their Own

A powerful tale about women playing baseball while the men are away in the war. It’s interesting that something that takes place decades before is still relevant to us today. The movie has an all star cast, which only makes the story more intriguing. Tom Hanks stars as their drunk washed up manager, even Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna make appearances as two other players on the team. The movie never gets old.

5. Bad News Bears

Bad news bears 1976 movie poster.jpg

Walter Matthau plays a former minor league player who’s now an alcoholic who cleans swimming pools. He gets recruited to coach the least athletic players in the league, one of them just so happens to be his son. This movie is a classic because of the acting and the story is original and hilarious. Tatum O’Neal is amazing in this movie, her performance alone is worth tuning in to this one. Be sure to stay clear of the Billy Bob Thornton remake, the original is obviously better.

6. Bull Durham

Another movie starring Kevin Costner but this is one of the most beloved sports movies of all time. It tells the story of an older and mature player being asked to mentor the big upcoming star pitcher. I think the big reason why so many people love this movie is because it’s a lot about life and love, not just baseball. It’s a classic and timeless story that never gets old.

7. Bang The Drum Slowly

Bang The Drum Slowly stars a young and unknown Robert DeNiro. Two years after this movie, he won an Oscar for his role in The Godfather Part II. We all know what a great actor he is but it is pretty awesome to see his early work. He plays the role of Bruce, an uneducated catcher who finds out he has a terminal illness. The movie focuses on his relationship with his pitcher. It’s the baseball version of “Brian’s Song” except even better. It’s not overly cheesy, it’s just a naturally emotional story.

8. The Rookie

Dennis Quaid stars as Jim Morris, who is a real person and was briefly but notably in the major leagues for one season. Morris was supposed to be an incredible major league player. A shoulder injury shatters that dream and he hangs it up and makes a family. Slowly, he makes his way up throughout the movie until he finally reaches the major league. This is an uplifting movie that shows that dreams can come true no matter what age you are.

9. Moneyball

This is the true story of Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland Athletic’s. This movie has become so popular in the past few years because it gives some insight into the operations behind professional baseball. Basically, Beane gets help from Peter Brand, a young graduate from Yale who has a degree in economics and has unique ideas about the values of players. Working with a limited budget, the two figure out their roster by taking these players that nobody wants and discovering those players strengths.

10. 42

This recent film looks at the life of the classic baseball player Jackie Robinson. There were many African American players who were good enough to play in the major leagues, who were around before and the same time as Robinson. However, Branch Rickey singled out Jackie because he believed he had the guts not to fight back. It’s a really compelling classic story that we all know but it’s beautiful to watch this come to life.

 

Best Football Movies

As promised, here’s a list of my favorite football movies. These movies are uplifting and always heartwarming. Sometimes they might be a bit cliche but you can’t help but love them anyway.

1. Rudy

There’s not a more uplifting movie than Rudy. Everytime it’s on cable, I always have to watch it. Everybody loves a good underdog story and this one certainly is an amazing one. It also makes me tear up during that classic scene towards the end. If you’ve never seen this movie, what are you doing with your life?

2. Remember The Titans

This is a heartwarming Disney movie about a high school being desegregated in 1971. Both blacks and whites are also forced to combine their football teams. The white coach gets the shaft when a black head coach takes over the position. The boys and the coaches butt heads and see themselves as being different. It’s really inspiring when the boys start to put aside their differences and become brothers.

3. Jerry Maguire

Show me the money! This one is definitely the best about the business of football. We learn a lot about the personal and business life of sports agent Jerry Maguire. Rod is an older player who makes Jerry yell, “Show me the money!” when Jerry is trying to be his agent. Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Oscar for his role of Rod Tidwell which you can’t help but love.

4. Friday Night Lights

Billy Bob Thornton does a great job playing the head coach of this high school football team which is actually based on a true story. It makes it even better that it’s a true story. The characters are all amazing and realistic. What’s not to love?

5. The Blind Side

Sandra Bullock is absolutely amazing in this role. This is the inspiring true story of NFL offensive linemen Michael Oher. Before he was able to go to the NFL, he had to face many trials in his life including homelessness and poverty. He found a home with the Tuohy family, who have money like Oher has never seen before. It’s hard not to be touched by the kindness and love that this movie has.

TV Shows Worth Watching

These TV shows will take some time to watch. However, if you want a show that is pretty far along, these are worth watching and getting invested in.

Scandal

I’ll be surprised if you haven’t watched this one. Olivia Pope is a former White House worker and campaign manager. She’s also a professional fixer. She runs her own business called, “Pope and Associates.” Her and her crew call themselves Gladiators and they take on some tricky cases that happen among some of the most prestigious political figures there in Washington. Oh yeah, Olivia is also President Grant’s mistress. Throw in Mellie Grant, Fitzgerald Grant’s (such a Presidential name for a fake President) political hungry wife and the drama is in place. The show can get more than a little graphic and sexual for a ABC show but at least it’s never boring.

The Sopranos

This is considered one of the best TV shows of all time. The tales of Tony Soprano and his gang lasted for six extremely intense seasons. Some of the things that happened on the show just couldn’t be predicted. No one was safe, even the main characters could be killed off at any minute. Part of it’s appeal was that it always kept you guessing and just when you thought it couldn’t cross anymore lines, it’d cross yet another line. Carmela Soprano is easily one of my favorite female TV characters of all time. She’s complicated and badass, not much more could you want from a character. James Gandolfini had one of the best acting performances ever as this evil cheating mob boss. It’s a beautiful show that’s definitely worth watching.

Gossip Girl

This teen drama is obviously nothing like The Sopranos. Yet I think this show is worth watching because it’s filled with intense drama and who doesn’t love watching a bunch of rich kids fight their problems out? This show has amazing music and outfits that you can’t help but envy. Plus the love story between Chuck and Blair is by far one of my favorites. The most significant thing about the show is just how much of a part of our culture the show has become in a fairly short amount of time.

Hart of Dixie

Zoe Hart is a doctor from New York who finds out her biological father who recently died left her half of his practice in Alabama. She moves down South and finds her life changing forever. This show is silly and filled with jokes that don’t always work. Some of the storylines also fall flat. Why do I think it’s worth watching? Rachel Bilson is charming and stylish as Zoe Hart. The love story between her and country boy Wade is adorable. The show is also filled with the cutest outfits and has also introduced me to some of the best music.

Friday Night Lights

There aren’t many things as amazing as watching this TV show for the first time. It’s hard not to find yourself caught up in the characters and stories. The show focuses on high school football coach Eric Taylor who starts off the series as the new head coach for the Dillon Panthers. The football team is preparing for it’s best season yet but finds themselves unsure of what to do when the team is thrown an unexpected curveball. Prepare to fall in love with bad boy Tim Riggins, the good quiet boy Matt Saracen, nerdy Landry Clark, and the overconfident running back Smash Williams. You can’t tell me Eric and Tami aren’t the cutest couple ever.