COVID-19 has been challenging for all of us, and I sincerely hope you’re all well. We have no live sports to watch, but we do have classic sports movies. Here are, in my opinion, the three greatest sports movie motivational speeches. I invite you to watch them repeatedly in these difficult times, and to share your favorites in the comments below.
Any Given Sunday - Al Pacino
My first year as a head football coach of an 11 and 12 year old team we started out the season 0 – 4. We also had scored zero points on offense thanks to an inept offensive coordinator (also me). I went home and watched this Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday repeatedly. At the end of next practice, I gave our team my version of that speech. I left out the repeated cursing, the self loathing comments, but kept the spirit of it, and did my best Pacino impression (hooo haaaaa!). Because of my speech we ended up winning the next five games, squeaking into the playoffs, and winning our first round playoff game. I’m giving my speech 100% credit, with no credit given to the two new 12 years olds who joined the team who both had partial beards and pectoral muscles. Coincidence I say! Either way, this is the best sports motivational movie speech ever. I encourage to re-watch it before you go on your next toilet paper run at Costco, because “life is a game of inches”.
Miracle - Kurt Russell
This is an amazing speech, and an even better scene. Two full minutes of magnificent silence looking at the players faces as they are about to attempt the seemingly impossible. I love when Kurt Russell, as Coach Herb Brooks, looks at his pen written line up card for the game, then the camera cuts to his face. He had to be thinking, I got Mike freaking Eruzione on my top line? This is gonna go well. But, when he walks into the dressing room he tells them “you were born to be hockey players”. I’m tearing up again just writing this. My only beef is as good as Kurt Russell was, I wish there was some footage of the actual Herb Brooks pre-game speech. By all accounts, he was a very fiery guy. Can you imagine the F-bombs and Soviet bashing that would have actually transpired!?
Jerry Maguire - Tom Cruise
Is Jerry Maguire a sports movie? Damn tooting it is! It’s also a romantic comedy that appeals to fans of both genres, which is pretty much the highest degree of difficulty. So many iconic scenes (show me the money, you complete me), but my favorite is “help me, help you”. Tom Cruise is outstanding in this movie, as he is always is. His gradual breakdown, and eventual revival as the lead character is riveting to watch. Little did we know some of this was life imitating art, as we would witness years later as he jumped on Oprah’s sofa. Use this as your mantra in these uncertain days towards your fellow humans – “help me, help you”.