Letters from the Sports Desk …
We know the human body is capable of amazing things. We know that to achieve such things, our body is going to need work. The human form was not built for comfort. The human body was designed for power and speed; built to push and overcome its every limit.
But of course, full-on, grown-up responsibility and social convention has dumped upon us a thousand other things to concern ourselves with instead. There’s bills to pay and mouths to feed, appointments to keep and classes to attend, Dorito tacos, candy-filled drinks and baconated everything to buy — and when all this is done, there is a great, collective, worn-out duff to sit upon. One might be able to carve out time in his or her busy schedule for things like working out but nothing is more elusive at such a point than the motivation. And so our wonderful bodies go neglected.
The world of cinema though gives us an untapped source of profound inspiration. One must look no further than YouTube for the epic movie moments that can in a matter of minutes have you raring to go. Run those miles. Pump that iron. Push those limits. Crush your enemies!
I have scoured the vaults relentlessly and from them, compiled a comprehensive list of the top five best inspirational moments from the entirety of sports cinema throughout history. May they give you chills. May they give you confidence. May they give you all you need to get fired up. Go forward! Watch the clips — then conquer!
5. The running scene in “Rocky II”
This famous scene in which Rocky Balboa trains his body to fight by luring the feral street children of Philadelphia into chasing him on his morning jog should inspire us all to achieve our goals. It’s a better one than the running scene in “Rocky I” where Rocky trains by letting vendors throw him fruit on his jog through some bizarre industrial wasteland.
4. The training montage set to Survivor’s song “Eye of the Tiger” from “Rocky III.”
Here’s a scene that will not only motivate you to work out but also demonstrates the methods for doing so. The song is pretty much the quintessential workout tune of all eternity. If Survivor has not come into your head during your workouts, you’re just working out wrong.
3. Rocky’s “Sunshine and Rainbows” speech to his jaded son in “Rocky VI” (Rocky Balboa).
In this timeless scene, after years of taking perhaps too many punches, Rocky explains how winning is done; by getting hit — a lot. Rocky does, however, neglect to discuss how a boxing match is scored in which without a knockout, the person who is hit the most is actually declared the loser. These kinds of details though are for real losers and the hot crescendo of this speech is going to make you a winner.
2. The Mickey coaching flashback scene in “Rocky V.”
While Mickey may be the unsung pioneer behind the hipster fad of wearing a knit cap even when it’s excruciatingly hot, he was more widely known as Rocky’s beloved, impossibly old coach. Though his speech was colorful, the dim, old-timey looking sepia tones in this scene are an actual depiction of his muted flesh tone. Even so, Mickey inspires us all with his berating words and Popeye-like grimace, “Get up you son of a bitch ’cause Mickey loves ya.”
1. The turning-in-the-jerseys scene in “Rudy.”
This scene — it just gets me. Sometimes it’s important to shed those manliest of tears before you workout and this scene can do that for you. When Notre Dame’s football coach refuses to put the undersized, first-year, walk-on player (and former Goonie) Rudy on the field, all the other players turn in their jerseys, relinquishing their positions to Rudy (future Hobbit). It’s a bold and defiant act that reminds us that sometimes the best way to win is just to give up playing all together.
Though this is the definitive list of the best inspirational moments from the sports film genre, I encourage you to seek motivation in other great, similar films. There are greatly motivational sequences in movies like “Vision Quest,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Mighty Ducks 2,” “Any Given Sunday,” “The Sandlot,” “Remember the Titans,” “Raging Bull,” “The Warrior” and “Dorf on Golf.”