Underdog Sports Movies

by Michelle C. 

As we move into fall and consequently “football season,” I want to highlight one of my favorite types of movies: the underdog story. Maybe because I was always the last one picked for any sport (still am), but I find underdog stories to be entirely relatable and heartwarming. There is something so endearing about someone trying their best at something that they just aren’t very good at doing. It’s the type of story that I need to see because it reminds me to practice the things that don’t come naturally to me. I’m so used to focusing on the things that I am already good at that I often ignore my weaknesses. In school I would complain about having to go to PE because it was the one class that I didn’t excel at. I never practiced. I never ran up and down the stairs in a Rocky-like montage.

Now as an adult, I find accomplishment in attempting the things I always feared: skiing, whitewater rafting, rowing, Jazzercise. I may still be an underdog, but with these guys on the same team as me, I no longer see that as a bad thing.

Cool Runnings: When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games, he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.

A League of Their Own: In 1943, a washed-up ballplayer is hired to coach in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League while the male pros are at war. Reluctant at first, he finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his team. Based on a true story.

Remember the Titans: After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. A rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by resentment, friction and mistrust comes together in triumphant harmony.

What are some of your favorite underdog movies?



4 responses to “Underdog Sports Movies”

  1. I object to the male-oriented description of A League of Their Own. It is not a redemption story of the coach, but a celebration of the women in that league who played great baseball despite expectation. They were the underdogs. The narrative arc follows them.

  2. Julie says:

    Great list! A League of Their Own has always inspired me! Is there a way to change the catalog description for the film? Michelle’s annotation on the list sounds much better.

  3. matt says:

    What about Seabiscuit for the list, the little horse that could and did. With great performances by Jeff Bridges, Toby Maguire, Chris Cooper and Gary Stevens.

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