It has been a little frustrating at work lately as I have been dealing with an outside firm working an audit where the staff often asks maddeningly simple/stupid questions. To be fair, a long, long time ago and in a place far, far away, I, too, was young and inexperienced and probably asked my fair share of dumb questions. (Actually, I still probably ask the stupid question now and again, but hopefully with less frequency) Nonetheless, my frustrations brought to mind a memorable line from the film, Any Given Sunday, where the great Jim Brown is exhorting the defense to play better, noting “You’re dumb enough, we made this simple enough. We made this shit real fucking simple.” I very much wanted to use that quote on a recent conference call.
I ended up watching the entire movie on a flight back to Pa. earlier this week, noting the football scenes are reasonably accurate, if not slightly over the top. I mean, has anyone really ever pulled out someone’s tooth in a game, let alone a whole eyeball?!? I recently had also watched Miracle, where the action is very accurate. Both of these productions employed sports action expert Mark Ellis who is a stickler for accurate play. In general, the sports action in movies has improved in recent years. However, I would make the argument that it now too often it attributes professional sports ability to all levels of athletics. There’s nothing worse than seeing a movie where the high school football team plays like a pro team with 60 yard bombs and jaw-breaking moves. Even with today’s year-around commitment to one sport, truly exceptionally play is still a rarity. Trust me, I still see plenty of wobbly throws, poor routes and terrible tackling at the Division 1 level. And don’t get me started, on 105lb women beating up 200lb guys. It just doesn’t happen. I don’t care how much training she has, at some point size and strength always beats the best technique.
The lesson to be learned here is the importance of being realistic which is particularly relevant as the Little League All Star playoffs are in full swing and the high school sports seasons start up. Fans and particularly parents need to adjust their expectations for little Johnny and Jenny this fall. Don’t be mad if they can’t scramble like Steamin’ Willie Beamon or throw like Nuke LaLoosh. Instead tell them to play hard and have fun, everything else is gravy.