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The 15: Sports Movies To Watch With Your Kids This Summer

June 15, 2017
I'm not sure how long it took you to go from "Sure, Billy, I'll get you a fidget spinner" to "If you spin that stupid thing one more time I'm going to toss it down the garbage disposal." A month? A week? Maybe a day? With your kids now home for the summer, there will inevitably be even more regular annoyances. 

So I offer a suggestion: After your kids have tracked so much dirt into your house that you have to hire the Camden Yards grounds crew to drag it, try to settle them down with a movie. For The 15 this month, we look at 15 sports movies you can watch with your kids this summer. 

(Note: With one exception, the following films are rated either PG or G. You probably shouldn't watch "Bull Durham" with your kids.)

1. "A League Of Their Own" (1992)

While the story is fictional, it will offer your kids a look at a moment in sports history they might not fully understand. You might blush a little when Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) asks an umpire, “Anyone ever tell you look like a penis with a little hat on?" 

2. "Cool Runnings" (1993)

Irving Blitzer (John Candy): "Do the words 'give up' mean anything to you?" 

Derice Bannock (Leo Robinson): "Not a thing." 

That's an interaction your kids should hear. The movie, loosely based on the 1988 Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, is just as infectious today as it was when I was 10. 

3. "Field Of Dreams" (1989) 

I'm including "Field of Dreams" because it's a quintessential baseball movie that every kid should see. But beware of a scolding hot take here: "Field of Dreams" is really freaking weird. "Ease his pain?" "Go the distance?" The whole thing is bizarre. But it's also baseball and America and all that. So show it to your kids. And when they tell you it's weird, don't fight with them. They're right. But at least they've seen it. 

4. "Glory Road" (2006)

Not only is "Glory Road" an underappreciated, solid flick, it's also a reasonably accurate look at a significant moment in local sports history. The film is based on the story of the 1966 NCAA basketball championship game at Cole Field House, in which Texas Western (who started five black players) defeated an all-white Kentucky team. Not shown in the movie? Legendary former Maryland head coach Gary Williams sneaking into the gym to watch the game. (True story.) 

5. "Hoosiers" (1986) 

But after they watch it, your kids are probably going to want to measure everything they see, much like Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) did when the Milan High School basketball team first arrived at Hinkle Fieldhouse. 

6. "Invincible" (2006)

The only tough part is that after watching the story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) making the Philadelphia Eagles, your kids are definitely going to assume they can one day be a Baltimore Raven. Actually, if they can play receiver, they might. Immediately. 

7. "The Mighty Ducks" (1992)

It has been 25 years since I first heard Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso) referred to as "Cake Eater." I played along with it as a kid, but it took me two-and-a-half decades to finally bother to try to figure out what the hell that meant. Per IMDB: "This term is actually well known throughout Minnesota and refers to people who live in the city of Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis. It's in reference to Marie Antoinette's infamous, 'Let them eat cake.'" Honestly, I still don't really understand. 

8. "Miracle" (2004) 

If you don't think your kids will sit through the entire movie, you can just YouTube the scene in which Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) delivers his pregame speech before the U.S. defeated Russia in the "Miracle On Ice" game during the 1980 Olympics. Perhaps you can use it to inspire your kids to go wash your car or something. 

9. "Remember The Titans" (2000)

Simply put, it's the best football movie ever made. When I found out Wood Harris (who played Julius Campbell in "Remember The Titans," and you may also know as Avon Barksdale from "The Wire") would be appearing on Glenn Clark Radio in 2016, I thought to myself: “It would be a very hack thing to do to ask him to recreate the famous 'left side/strong side' scene from the movie." I did it anyway. He obliged. I haven't stopped smiling since. If your kids haven't seen "Remember The Titans" they need to. It's basically a perfect motion picture. 

10. "Rocky" (1976)

Perhaps you didn't remember that it wasn't until "Rocky V" that a Rocky movie was rated anything above PG. Which reminds me that after your kids start demanding to watch the "Rocky" sequels, stop them before they press play on "Rocky V." No one deserves that in their life. But what else can you say about "Rocky?" It's one of the greatest movies ever made. In fact, if your kids haven't already seen it, I have to wonder a bit about your parenting.  

11. "Rudy" (1993)

No, former Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine (Chelcie Ross) wasn't actually a jerk. But the story of former Fighting Irish player Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger wouldn't be as good without an antagonist. Let's go back to that piping hot take soup so I can tell you the movie is probably a little overrated. But I'll still acquiesce and tell you your kids should see it. 

12. "The Rookie" (2002)

At times, the story of former Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) is more than a bit hokey. But the movie checks all the boxes for an underdog Disney sports story, and you'd have to be completely heartless to not be touched by the scene that unfolds after Morris' first career game. 

13. "The Sandlot" (1993)

Thanks to the incomparable Fourth of July scene (with Ray Charles' version of "America The Beautiful" as a soundtrack), "The Sandlot" is required Independence Day viewing in the Glenn Clark household. This isn't just the greatest kids' sports movie of all time; it's the greatest coming-of-age story ever told. Patrick Renna (who played Hamilton "Ham" Porter) once told me he'd be interested in getting all of the actors together for a charity game. Considering the movie turns 25 next year, I need your help with a Kickstarter I'm about to fire up.  

14. "We Are Marshall" (2006) 

True story: I never watched "We Are Marshall" until this January when the Steelers-Dolphins playoff game was such a blowout that I was desperate for an alternative. I regret having waited so long. Matthew McConaughey is great as former Thundering Herd head coach Jack Lengyel (who would later go on to serve as athletic director at Navy), and I'd be lying if I said the movie didn't elicit some sort of liquid coming out of my eyeballs. 

15. "42" (2013)

This is the only PG-13 movie I included on our list. The story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) received the rating largely because the film includes the true depiction of the many racial slurs the Hall of Famer heard while he integrated baseball. As long as your kids can handle that, they should see it.