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Sports movies tug at emotions

By Anthony Rhoads

About four years ago, a co-worker and I were having a discussion about the movie Hoosiers.

I told him that it was one of my favorite sports movies and his reaction was that, yes, it was a great movie but it was all wrong because the name of the high school that won the Indiana state basketball championship was Milan not Hickory.

The year they won the state title was also in 1954 not 1952 like the movie depicted.

What my co-worker didn't realize was that Hoosiers was a fictionalized account of that state championship season. My co-worker, who is long-gone from the sports writing business, also stated that the state of Georgia had no good high school basketball whatsoever so I guess that gives an idea of this guy's mental capacity.

Anyway, Hoosiers is a great movie and ranks among my favorite sports movies of all time. Whenever I happen to catch it on TV, I always have to watch at least a few minutes of it.

It really is a great movie even though you know the outcome. You know that the Hickory Huskers are going to the win the state championship but the journey that the players, coaches and townspeople take to get there is compelling.

Hoosiers gives a neat look into how important high school sports is to small communities. Sports is a source of local pride and it really brings the community together. Hoosiers does a good job in portraying all the emotions that go with small town sports.

I was also impressed with the acting in the movie.

Gene Hackman turned in a great performance as the head coach but Dennis Hopper was the actor who really shined in his role as a former basketball star turn town drunk who is given a second chance at life when he is named an assistant coach. Hopper later was nominated for an Oscar for his role as ?Shooter.'

Here is glance at a few more of my favorite sports movies:

Remember the Titans has to rank as one of my favorite sports movies, even though it throws in just about every sports movie clich? possible.

It tells the story of head coach Herman Boone and the T.C. Williams Titans, an integrated football team in the early 1970s in Alexandria, Va. Things start out rocky at first for the players and coaches but they bond together and go through an undefeated football season.

Rocky remains not one of my favorite sports movies but is one of my all-around favorite movies of all times.

Is there anyone out there who doesn't know the storyline about the down-on-his-luck boxer who gets a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world? Rocky kind of set the standard for the comeback-story sports movie.

I have to admit I get teary-eyed at the final scenes of Field of Dreams. Who doesn't want a chance to go back and play a game of catch with their father?

Field of Dreams is not just about baseball but about life and how sons connect with their fathers through baseball.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.