The week before the start of a new year always means an abundance of Top Ten lists of the soon to be over current year, popping up everywhere. Top Ten goals, Top Ten sacks, dunks, saves, bloopers, etc,... We featured our Top Ten Retro Brand Fan Photo's of 2012 just last week and I'm about to lay another one on you today. Although today's list is not a 2012 list, but an ALL-TIME list, and was spurred on by last night's cry.
That's right. I'm a 6'1" - 235lb. macho sports loving pig who cries at the drop of a hat. Last night while flipping channels around 1am, I stumbled on my # 1 Sports tearjerker movie of all time and whilst trying not to wake my wife up with my snivelling, it was there and then that I decided I would share all of my sports movie moments of whiny weakness with you today. I've seen each of these at least 10-20 times each over the years, and the river of tears never stops coming no matter how I may try to hold 'em back. See if you can make it through.....
10. Miracle (2004; based on a true story): The film based on the true life story of the USA Hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics which led to one of the most unifying moments our country has ever experienced before or since. "Do you believe in Miracles? YES!" Do you believe in sobbing when Kurt Russell (as Head Coach Herb Brooks) gives his pregame speech to the underdogs and says "You were born for this."? YES!
9. The Blindside (2009; based on a true story): When Sandra Bullock has to drop off her beloved adopted son for his first day of College at Ole Miss, the separation anxiety I had when I went off to school comes rushing, dare I say tears-a-flowin-back, and I'm blindsided beside myself.
8. We Are Marshall (2006; based on a true story): The aftershock of 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team perishing in a plane crash is depicted all too well. Matthew McConaughey (as Head Coach Jack Lengyel) took his players to the grave-site of several deceased players so they could understand their history. "The Funerals end here.." ....the tears start here too. uh boy.
7. Hoosiers (1986; based on a true story): Many feel this is the best Sports movie of all time. Small town basketball team of all heart rag tags take on the big town boys from the big city and win the State Championship on last second shot. Coach's (Gene Hackman) last words in yet another locker room pep talk? "I love you guys." Tissue please.
6. Rudy (1993; based on a true story): "Rudy, are you ready for this, champ?" "I've been ready for this my whole life!" "Then you take us out on the field!!" He took them out on the Notre Dame field. We took out the hankies.
5. The Rookie (2002; based on a true story): Dennis Quaid portrays former baseball phenom Jim Morris, who'd dreamed of playing Major league Baseball. The dream ends (he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers) with an injury right out of High school. The dream becomes reality many years later for Morris at the ripe old age of 35 (age when most ball players retire). He has a short stint in the Minors and then gets the call up to the Majors. In the bowels of the stadium after a successful stint in relief in his Major League debut, he meets up with his Dad who had been less than supportive of Jim over the years. Jim: You came. Dad: Wasn't going to miss this one. Watching you out there tonight... not many fathers get to do that. Cue: tears.
4. A League of Their Own (1992): While not based on a true story like every movie mentioned above, the film realistically captures what life was like for women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball league. The AAGBPL was formed to fill the void of the Major leagues which were depleted of it's best players due to World War II. The first of 2 gut wrenching scenes is when Tom Hanks (Coach) receives a telegram from the War Department and has to inform one of his players their husband has been killed in action in the locker room before a game. Who's husband is it? Brutal.. The other scene is at the end when two of the sisters who played together meet up at the Baseball Hall of Fame for the ceremonial opening of the Women's wing. Ball city, and it ain't base Ball. For the record, one of the most memorable and funniest quotes from this movie (and all movies for that matter) - "There's no crying in baseball...THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!" brings timely comic relief.
3. Pride of The Yankees (1942; based on a true story): Often overshadowed by Yankee teammate Babe Ruth, the soft spoken goody-two-shoes Lou Gehrig got a lucky break when he filled in at first base for regular Wally Pipp. He never looked back and the "Iron Horse" went on to set a Major League record of 2,130 games played. When he inexplicably started to play poorly, he was eventually diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which today is known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. When the very ill Gehrig (Played by Gary Cooper) delivers a speech on the 4th of July of 1939 on a day designated in his honor saying "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," there isn't a dry eye in Yankee Stadium or the living room from which I am watching.
2. Brian's Song (1971; based on a true story): So many scenes, TOO many tears. Part of speech from Gale Sayers (Portrayed by Billy Dee Williams) accepting the George Halas Award for most Courageous player - "I'd like to tell you about a guy I know, a friend of mine. His name is Brian Piccolo (portrayed by James Caan). And he has the heart of a giant, and that rare form of courage that allows him to kid himself and his opponent, cancer. He has a mental attitude that makes me proud to have a friend who spells out the word 'courage,' 24 hours a day, every day of his life. Now you honor me by giving me this award. But I say to you here now, Brian Piccolo is the man who deserves the George S. Halas award. It is mine tonight... and Brian Piccolo's tomorrow (then the theme song starts playing...) I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him." Oy vey, I'm toast. Then the final words of the movie by Coach Halas as a flashback of Sayers & Piccolo come in to view - "Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember - but how he lived. How he did live! Double toast.
1. Field Of Dreams (1989; fantasy): While this movie has plenty of comedy, it's the message of faith & family that resonate most when all is said and done. Against all that is sane and reasonable, Kevin Costner's character builds a baseball diamond on his Iowa farm which plays host to ghosts of baseball players of the early 1900's who come out regularly to play. One night as he's heading in for the evening, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson says "Build it and he will come - Build it and he will come." Who will come you old ghost?, Kostner says and when he turns around he sees his Dad as a young man in a catcher's uniform. That's the first gulp moment. Second gulp moment is when the Dad asks "Is this Heaven?" Third, and biggest gulp moment of sports tearjerker moments ever is when Kostner asks "Dad?" "Yes.." "Do you wanna have a catch?" "Yeah.. I'd like that." I'd always cried at that moment, but since losing my Dad last October, and seeing it last night during this time of year had the flood gates WIDE open. Check it out....
I'm ok. You ok? That wasn't so bad.... You have any sports tear jerker flicks I left out? Tell me about them in the comments section. Now cheer up and have a great weekend!