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  • Writer's pictureValerie A. Higgs

Sports Movies vs. Sports IRL

I have a lot to do today. It's a busy weekend, but it has nothing to do with the Superbowl.

First of all, my birthday is Tuesday! I usually take the day off, but if it falls on the weekend, I'll turn it into a three-day weekend. This year I'm taking off Monday and Tuesday.

I usually hit the spa and get a mani/pedi. Years that I'm unusually flush with cash, I throw in a facial and massage.

This year, I don't have any plans. I'm not broke, just lethargic. I call it Post-Pandemic Apathy. Is it a thing? Let me know in the comments.

The upside to PPA is I created this blog and podcast. The downside is I don't feel like leaving the house. I need to get going, but I wanted to drop a few lines because of my realization this morning.

It's not so much a "realization" as something I remember every time it happens, and it always surprises me. I'll try to do this quickly - I have to shower and get the heck out of here so I'm not late.

I watched a little TV while eating breakfast, and promised whatever I was watching, I would be finished by 11:00 am so I could get ready for my meeting at 12:30 pm.

I flipped through the channel guide while sipping my cold brew coffee (because with age, I can't drink hot coffee anymore - unbelievable). Before my eggs got cold, I ran across the last 30 minutes of Moneyball and settled in.

Starring the consistent Brad Pitt and the amazing Jonah Hill, in his first non-comedic role (and who knocked it out of the park - no pun intended and was nominated for an Oscar for his effort), it's a sports movie about Billy Beane's stint as general manager for the Oakland A's. He changes the game, literally.

The first shot I saw was of Brad Pitt drinking coffee, and I was struck again by how much I enjoy him on screen. He's either the strongest link or weakest, but that is depending on who else is in the movie. In the movies where he's just alright, his co-stars are like major heavy hitters. I never hate what he chooses to do on screen.

I watched Moneyball several times and every time it's on I stop channel surfing. I love that movie. It's quiet. It's introspective. It's shot beautifully. Brad looks great. He's understated. Jonah is SUPER understated, yet not boring.

It's a movie that you can't help root for. You want Brad to succeed, and you want him to take Jonah with him wherever he decides to go. You care about Chris Pratt getting the gig. You care if the A's go to the World Series.

In the last sentence of the last paragraph, I typed "Superbowl" instead of "World Series" and caught myself. Superbowl on the brain? The big game is tomorrow and there is a lot of talk about it. No, that's not it.

I forgot for a moment what was the ultimate goal of baseball. How?

I could care less about sports. I'm a big arts supporter. Music, visual art, theater, literature, and cinema. And the arts get a bad break because they are woefully underfunded. That's a discussion for another time.

Who's playing in the Superbowl this year? I'm originally from South Jersey, so I definitely know the Eagles are playing. I'm not positive who they are playing against, because I don't care. I just know the quarterback is named Mahomes, and that's because that's the only name I hear during the sports segment when watching the evening news.

I do watch the Superbowl every year...because of the commercials (and halftime sometimes). When the game comes back on, I put in a load of laundry, grab a snack, get my one beer out of the fridge (the one beer I'll drink for the year), pack my bag for my commute the next day, or hit the bathroom.

There was a point when I was kind of into sports - specifically baseball, and specifically in the early 90s when the Phillies went to the World Series. I was so amped up that the guys at the bar were concerned about my blood pressure. I was out-raging the guys at the bar. It was pretty funny.

After the Phillies lost that game, I dropped concerning myself about local sports altogether. And I have ignored it to the point that I usually don't know who is playing on Superbowl Sunday. It has been the Patriots and somebody in recent years.

I've been to games, but I am only willing to go if (1) someone specifically asks me to go, (2) someone has an extra ticket, or (3) it is an office outing.

However, I ADORE sports movies. My favorite sports movies are Endless Summer, Moneyball, Bull Durham, Any Given Sunday, Concussion, Million Dollar Baby, The Program, Ali, The Wrestler, and Rocky IV, and I'm probably missing a few.

Notice that I don't just love all baseball movies or all football movies. It's random, and I find that fascinating.

What is my love for sports movies about? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because they cut out all of the parts I find tedious, like the crowds, ticket prices, finding parking, or boring games where people start throwing paper airplanes on the diamond (Phillies game spring 1986).

Maybe because the movies cut right down to the heart of why there are millions of sports fans around the world. The athleticism, the view, the fun of it. Maybe because I grew up with NFL Films right down the street.

Further, I also don't mind non-fiction books about sports. The sports book I most enjoyed was The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl. Who knew I even would care about soccer in the United States? It ended up being very eye-opening (especially the salaries of the regular, non-famous team members - yikes).

I enjoy everything about sports except actually watching sports. No overtime, no fighting, no million-dollar salaries, and no one kicking your chair. No overpriced beer.

Or maybe it's just that I love movies in general. Turns out that I need to meditate on this a little more because I've run on too long and now I'm very late!

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