Unusual Sports Movies

There are only two days a year when no major sports games are held: the day before baseball’s Major League All-Star Game, and the day after.  On every other day of the year, a major sporting event occurs somewhere in the country. Indeed, there are only 26 days a year when the PGA is not on tour, 51 days without tennis, and 95 days without a NASCAR event. Many sport seasons overlap – baseball ends long after football starts, basketball begins during football, and hockey runs long after baseball starts.

I’m not a huge sports fan. Sure, I grew up watching Wide World of Sports, but our family sport was Indy car racing, and if you practice that, police get annoyed. I earned an inter-dorm basketball championship shirt in college, but that was because we won three games by default, and yes, I watch two full weeks of the Olympics each time.

But for some unknown reason, I do like movies about sports. And there are a plethora of really good ones. Every sport has a loyal following, and some sports are more of a specialty than others (there aren’t many mainstream martial arts films beyond The Karate Kid,  and when I thought of skiing movies and thought of The Other Side of the Mountain (yeah, I’m old) and Eddie the Eagle real skiers have movies no one in the average  theater knows of), but no matter what the sport, there’s at least one film about it (Cool Runnings not withstanding).

Best of the Best

Ten films are on almost every Best Sports Movie list available. They’re grade-A movies that can make even the non-sportsman cheer for the underdog:
Hoop DreamsField of Dreams   / Moneyball  /  Bull Durham  /  Rocky   Rudy  /  Caddyshack   / 
Raging Bull  /  Tin Cup  /   Million Dollar Baby

Wider World of Sports

Yes, you say, but three of those are boxing movies. I’m a competitive swimmer. Then check out The Swimmer, with Burt Lancaster. If you want a top-rated movie for a sport without a weekday TV contract, try:

Golf: Caddyshack (no matter what list you look at, golfers insist this is THE best golf movie, but check out Tin Cup or The Legend of Bagger Vance for something more serious).
Tennis: Borg vs. McEnroe Battle of the Sexes
RunningJericho Mile, Chariots of Fire   

Skiing: Deep and Light
Martial Arts: Drunken Master II (Jackie Chan)
Auto racing: Days of Thunder,  Rush

Soccer: Pele: Birth of a Legend, Bend it Like Beckham
Billiards: The Hustler
Ice Skating: The Cutting Edge,  Ice Castles I, Tonya

Hockey:  Miracle, Slap Shot, Mystery Alaska
Surfing: Soul Surfer, Blue Crush

Horseracing: Seabiscuit
Weightlifting: Pumping Iron (the absolute classic!)
Rodeo: The Electric Horseman 8 Seconds  

Killer Roller Skating: Rollerball Whip It
Dodgeball: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story  
Apocalyptic ManhuntingThe Running Man,  The Hunger Games

Always Broom for One More

And Quidditch? Yes, that crazy game from Harry Potter is a real modern-day Muggle sport. Quidditch was first played on the campus of Middlebury College in 2005, with actual world championships (but no flying on the brooms), and there is still a push to make Quidditch an Olympic sport. Or you can follow Connecticut Quidditch teams at Yale, UConn, or Quinnipiac to watch live action on the pitch.  (Yes, I’m serious. My daughter’s team ranked 22nd in the world).

Don’t pay those exorbitant stadium prices or suffer through repetitive commercials! Grab your beer or bottled water, your popcorn or your Ball Park Frank, and cheer for your favorite sport with one of these awesome sports films!

Linda Reads: Let Me Be The One by Bella Andre

let meLet Me Be The One  is book six in The Sullivans series.  All of the books in this series can be read alone.   This series of books is beautifully written and a joy to read.

Ryan and Vicki were best friends in high school, but have long since gone their separate ways – Vicki to Europe as a sculptor and Ryan as a star baseball pitcher in San Francisco.   After a failed marriage, Vicki finds herself in San Francisco applying for a prestigious position in the art community and finds herself in an awkward position with one of the judges.   Even though she hasn’t seen him in years, her first thought is to call Ryan for help.

Ryan volunteers to be Vicki’s “pretend boyfriend”  to protect her from the unwanted advances of an influential judge.  But both Vicki and Ryan have trouble with the “pretend” part.  Neither wants to ruin their friendship by becoming lovers, but that’s proving to be quite difficult.  No matter how hard they try, their “love” for each other overtakes their “friendship”.

Touching, sweet, romantic and sexy, with likeable characters, this book is my favorite so far of the series.

Sports Romance Books

sports heartSports romance books are becoming increasingly more and more popular.   These athletes are generally at the top of their game, rich, and famous.  They are confident, stubborn,  dedicated, focused, passionate, and have a soft side  – which makes them strong, interesting characters.  All of them eventually realize that the love of a woman is what they need to make their life complete.  These stories are not overloaded with sports scenes or terminology.  There is just enough to give you a realistic insight into the sport and the challenges these athletes and the women in their lives face.

(On a side note:  Model Jed Hill seems the most popular choice for the many “naked chest” covers of sport romance books.  See his “stats” here and his facebook page here.  Enjoy!)

With the  cold days and nights ahead, turn up the heat with a Sport Romance!  Here’s a sampling of some titles available at the Cheshire Library.  Some are series where the first title is listed to get you started, although you don’t need to read them in order.

Tracy Solheim’s  Out of Bounds footballseries.  Book one – Game On.  Book two – Foolish Games. The funny, sexy and heartwarming exploits of the Blaze football stars and the women in their lives.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a sports series centering around football called Chicago Stars.  The first title is It Had to be You. A sexy, outrageous New York woman inherits a football team.

Let’s Misbehave by Lisa Plumley is a football story centering around Quarterback Cash Connelly and his need to find a nanny.

Another football themed title is Sweet Spot (book two of the Bakery Sisters trilogy)by Susan Mallery.  A touching, heartwarming story of a youth football coach and a bakery owner going through hard times.

Rachel Gibson has a hockey series, Chinooks Hockey Team.  The first title is Simply Irresistible.  Realisticstory about a hockey jock tamed by an irresistible woman.

Deirdre Martin also has a hockey series, Blades with the first title being Body Check.  Fun, sexy, withwonderful characters and story line.

Just In Time (Alaskan Night series) by Addison Fox about an injured hockey star returning to Alaska to heal and try to make things right with the girl back home.

Molly O’Keefe – two of her best poignant and deeply sensual books are hockey stories – Crazy Thing Called Love and Can’t Buy Me Love.

Jill Shalvis offers two baseball theme books – Double Play and Slow Heat. Jill’s books are humorous,sexy and fast reads.

Stealing Home is part of Sherryl Woods’ series Sweet Magnolias.  It’s about a single mom and her son’s baseball coach.

Staying with baseball, Pitch Perfect (A Cricket Creek Novel) by LuAnn McLane.  A hard-swinging baseball team and three hometown heroes try to revitalize the community.

Let Me Be The One by Bella Andre.  Part of The Sullivans – focusing on baseball pitcher Ryan Sullivan.

Pamela Britton has an exciting NASCAR series.  The first title is Slow Burn.  An action packed, sexy read.

Also in the race car theme – Erin McCarthy’s series, Fast Track.  Try Slow Ride and Jacked UpFast paced, steamy with a touch of humor.

Some miscellaneous sports:

Fast & Loose by Elizabeth Bevarly and The Horsemaster’s Daughter by Susan Wiggs. – Equestrian

Table for Five by Susan Wiggs – Golf

On Thin Ice by Susan Andersen. – Ice Skating

Extreme Bachelor and Wedding Survivor by Julia London – Extreme Sports

Crash Into Me by Jill Sorenson – Professional Surfing

Freefall by Jill Sorenson – Rock Climbing/Kayaking

Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Sports Agent

Causing Havoc by Lori Foster. Her series, SBC, is based on the Ultimate Championship fighting world of bad boys and the women they love.

’42’ – A Movie About Jackie Robinson

movie 42The movie ‘42′ is set to be released Friday, April 12th.   It tells the life story of Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman) who became the first African-American to play professional baseball.  He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers where team executive Branch Rickey (played by Harrison Ford) guided Robinson through this momentous time.  The movie is already generating positive buzz with great reviews and high praise.

The Cheshire Library has several books about Jackie Robinson that you might want to read – for both children and adults.

Adult:

Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball by Scott Simon

The Jackie Robinson Reader: perspectives on an American hero by Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson by Arnold Rampersad

Children:

Jackie Robinson by Tony DeMarco

Stealing Home : Jackie Robinson: Against All Odds by Robert Burleigh

Jackie Robinson and the Story of All Black Baseball – by Jim O’Connor

There are also more titles to choose from.  The Children’s Librarian or Reference Librarian can help you locate them.