Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Talking Smack

As a kid, I was enthralled each time I’d catch ABC’s The Wide World of Sports.. Hearing Jim McKay’s stentorian voice, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition," is forever imprinted in my mind.

Perhaps, the only similar opening line that carries more weight isn’t even spoken (I’ll give you a hint; it goes like this: “da-da-dat. da-da-dat”).

As much as I love sports telecasts for giving me a ringside seat to all the action, sports movies have a special place in my heart. I watch them for their ability to inspire and make me laugh. They send me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They don’t match the actual drama of the 1998 NBA Finals or the 2001 World Series, but for sheer entertainment value, it’s not bad. These movies follow that time-honored plot of beginning, rising action, climax, descending action, and denouement. They may be formulaic, but they make for great storytelling. Let me explain by using some of the best sports movie lines ever.

Six Degrees of Separation (The Plot)
Ernie: I'm a baseball scout. I saw you playing today. Not bad, not bad. You ever heard of Walter Harvey, makes Harvey bars - you know, the candy?Dottie: Yeah. We feed them to the cows when they're constipated.Ernie: That's the guy. He's starting a girls' baseball league, so he can make a buck while the boys are overseas. Wanna play?Dottie: Huh?Ernie: Nice retort. Tryouts are in Chicago. It's a real league. Professional.Kit: Professional baseball?Ernie: Mmm-hmm. They'll pay you 75 dollars a week.Kit: We only make 30 at the dairy.Ernie: Well then, this would be more, wouldn't it?

Jerry: "I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game - featuring you - while singing your own song in a new commercial - starring you - broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens. I'll give you fifteen minutes to call me back."

John: Is this heaven?
Ray: It's - it's Iowa.
John: I could have sworn it was heaven.
Ray: Is there a heaven?
John: Oh, yeah. It's the place where dreams come true.
Ray: Maybe this is heaven.
Jergens: What exactly are you looking for Apollo? Apollo: This is who I'm looking for. The Italian Stallion. Jergens: Rocky Balboa? Never heard of him. Apollo: Look, it's the name man. The I-talian Stallion. The media will eat it up. Now who discovered America? An Italian, right? What better way to get it on than with one of his descendants? Trainer: He's a southpaw. I don't want you messing with southpaws. They do everything backwards. Apollo: Southpaw nothing. I'll drop him in three. Apollo Creed meets the Italian Stallion. Now that sounds like a damn monster movie.

The Golden Child (Enter the Hero)
Coach Herman: Now wait a minute, I am not the answer to your prayers. I’m not a savior, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King or the Easter Bunny. I’m a football coach, that’s all.
Charles: Just a football coach? You are our coach!

Mike: Mike Eruzione! Winthrop, Massachusetts! I play for the United States of America!

Reporter: Awful lotta hoopla for such a little horse.Red: Though he be but little, he is fierce.Reporter: What's that?Red: That's Shakespeare, boys, Shakespeare.

Why can’t we all just get along here? (Conflict)
Coach Norman: First of all, let's be real friendly here, okay? My name is Norm. Secondly, your coaching days are over. George: Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with. Coach Norman: Translate. That some sort of threat? George: I don't know why Cletus dragged your tired old bones in here. He musta owed you somethin' fierce. Fact is, mister, you start screwin' up this team, I'll personally hide-strap your ass to a pine rail and send you up the Monon Line! [George angrily turns and storms out of the gym] Coach Norman: Leave the ball, will you, George?

Kate: If you're so bored, why don't you read?Doug: You mean like a book?Kate: That is the generally accepted format, yes. What was the last book you read? You were in college?Doug: The last thing I read in college was a letter canceling my scholarship when I couldn't play anymore.Kate: Okay, high school.Doug: I was a hockey player. The only thing I had to read was a scoreboard.Kate: And they graduated you?Doug: They revered me. I was a God.Kate: What a tragic commentary on our times.

Mickey: Ah, Rocky Marciano. Ya know, ya kinda remind me of the Rock, ya know that?
Rocky: You really think so?
Mickey: Ya move like him. Ya got heart like he did.
Rocky: I got heart but I ain’t got no locker, do I, Mick?

Gonna Fly Now (Getting his act together)
Hatch: Where do I stand for a corner kick?

Herman: Petey how many feet are in a mile? How many?Petey: I dunno.Herman: 5,280! And you will take this ball and run every single one of them! You’re killing me Petey! You’re killing me!

Jimmy: Baseball is what lights you up. What gets you excited. You can’t deny that.
Dottie: It just got too hard.
Jimmy: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t too hard, everyone would do it. That’s what makes it great.

The Divine Gipper (Waxing poetic)
Irv: Now a lot of coaches would be giving you one of these one of these “one for the Gipper” speeches. I’m not good at that stuff. Instead, I thought I’d lead you in a psalm of inspiration.
Sanka: Who’s the Gipper?
Irv: Our Father, who art in Calgary, Bobsled be thy name. Thy kingdom come, gold medals won, on Earth as it is in Turn Seven. With Liberty and Justice for Jamaica and Haile Selassie. Amen.

Jimmy: Uh, Lord, hallowed be Thy name. May our feet be swift; may our bats be mighty; may our balls be plentiful. Lord, I'd just like to thank You for that waitress in South Bend. You know who she is - she kept calling Your name. And God, these are good girls, and they work hard. Just help them see it all the way through. Okay, that's it.

Tony: You’ll find out life's this game of inches, so is football. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that's gonna make the difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!


Victory (The moment of truth)
(After hitting a homerun) Roger: Curveball?

Mickey: Yeah, but it didn't curve.

Jesus: Basketball is like poetry in motion, cross the guy to the left, take him back to the right, he's fallin’ back, then just J right in his face. Then you look at him and say, "What?"

Jack: C'mon, it ain't over till the fat lady sings! Toshi: [translating to the team] When the game is over, a fat lady will sing to us!

Tony: On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. The point is - can you win or lose like a man?

When the Lights Go Down (The aftermath)
Tom: Hey, we're sorry about all that stuff we said before you hit that homer...Stan: Yeah, you wouldn't be anywhere if it wasn't for Roseanne.

Lou: Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

Roy: I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book. Iris::And then? Roy: And then when I walked down the street people would've looked and they would've said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.

William: People always say to me, "When you get to the NBA, don't forget about me." Well, I should've said back, "If I don't make it to the NBA, don't you forget about me."

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