20 Sports Movies to Help Inspire You Between Games

The summer tournament season is almost upon us. Whether you’re traveling to tournaments near or far, you’re sure to have some down time in the car, on the bus or on the plane (and between games).

Think about downloading some inspirational sports movies for your young athlete to watch. There’s nothing more motivating than watching a team of underdogs overcome all odds and achieve the impossible. No doubt, some choices will take parents down memory lane as well. Even if the movie doesn’t feature your child’s chosen sport(s), there’s little doubt the themes will ring true. There are some age-old favorites and some newer films that are likely to become classics. Press ‘PLAY’ and prepare to be inspired!

Friday Night Lights (2004) PG-13 – The fictionalized story of a football-obsessed small town in Texas explores the struggles of the coach, players and their families while under the spotlight of a town preoccupied with winning.

Crooked Arrows (2012) PG-13 – A mixed-blood Native American, Joe Logan, must prove himself to his father, the traditionalist Tribal Chairman, by rediscovering his spirit. He must coach the reservation’s high school lacrosse team which competes against the better equipped and better trained players of the elite Prep School League.

Mystery, Alaska (1999) R – The amateur hockey team from a remote and isolated town in Alaska accepts the challenge to face-off against the New York Rangers, forcing the entire town to forget their petty rivalries and support their team.

Rudy (1993) PG – Tops on many lists of unforgettable sports movies. Tells the story of Rudy, small in stature but big of heart, who overcomes the odds to play football for Notre Dame.

Miracle (2004) – A look back at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid when the US Hockey team achieved the impossible. All the more inspiring because it’s a true story.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002) – A good dose of girl power! An Indian family in London tries to raise their children in a traditional way. Youngest daughter Jess dreams of playing soccer professionally, like her hero David Beckham, and is forced to make a choice between tradition and her beloved sport.

Victory (1981) PG – Stars Sylvester Stallone and Pelé as allied POWs who must prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, while the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team’s escape.

Pelé: Birth of a Legend (2016) PG – Pele’s inspirational rise from the slums of Sao Paulo to leading Brazil to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17.

The Natural (1984) PG – A must see for baseball fans. An unknown baseball player (Robert Redford) comes out of nowhere to become a legendary player.

Hoosiers (1986) PG – Coach (Gene Hackman) and team defy the odds and go to the Indiana State basketball finals.

Slap Shot (1977) R – A down and out ice hockey team finds success with outrageously violent hockey trickery.

Rocky (1976) PG – Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight champion. Yo, Adrian!

McFarland, USA (2015) PG – Based on the true story of Jim White, a down and out coach (Kevin Costner), who turns an unlikely group of poor and predominately Latino high school boys into one of the best cross-country teams. Runners will enjoy this.

The Miracle Season (2018) PG –After the tragic death of the school’s star player, Caroline “Line” Found, the West High School girl’s volleyball team must band together in hopes of winning the state championship. [available for download in July 2018]

Kicking & Screaming (2005) PG – Will Ferrell coaches a soccer team of misfits with the help of former Bear’s coach Mike Ditka and must compete against his win-at-all-costs dad.

Soul Surfer (2011) PG – The true story of Bethany Hamilton, a successful teenage surfer who is attached by a shark while surfing, loses an arm, but refuses to quit the sport she loves.

Karate Kid (1984) PG– The original version is a must! A classic tale of the new kid in town being bullied, but with the help of Mr. Miyagi, he learns to defend himself with Karate.

Remember the Titans (2000) PG: The story of a football coach (Denzel Washington) and the challenges he faces while coaching a football team during the forced desegregation of a Virginia high school in the early 1970s.

We are Marshall (2006) PG – A football coach (Matthew McConaughey) must rebuild a team tragically decimated after its players are killed in a plane crash. Based on a true story.

The Blind Side (2009) PG-13 – Semi-biographical film about NFL Player Michael Oher, his impoverished upbringing, and subsequent adoption by the Tuohy family.

**double check ratings before hitting play! Some movie selections may not be appropriate for all ages.

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