Now that the weather has turned colder and we’re staring winter in the face, it’s time to adjust our internal clocks accordingly. When I look at the sky, it’s gray and dark around 5 p.m. I wonder how the people who live in Alaska, where there’s cold and night for six months, make it.
With basketball being our primary winter sport, it’s also football bowl time and who hasn’t grown up with NFL on Thanksgiving and Christmas? It used to be a tradition in my youth, going over the Delaware River to New Jersey and my Aunt Helen’s for a cornucopia of food. It’s not exact, but pretty close to “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.”
I like to relax and watch the NFL still, more so during the gray cloudy sky days. I guess it reminds me of good times. I also am an avid movie buff, many of which are sports movies. What better way to make it through our grueling winters than to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and a great sports movie to forget your troubles? By grueling I mean any cloudy day below 45 degrees and high humidity. We have our own tradition at the Warner house to watch “A Christmas Story” all day on Christmas, but the other days are fair game for sports films so I made a list of “Warner’s Picks” for you.
1. “Hoosiers” – This basketball movie has it all. You root for the underdog all the way through and it doesn’t disappoint. It comes from a simpler time. Favorite scenes: Gene Hackman walking through the gym doors his first day as coach Norman Dale … welcome to Indiana basketball. Coach Dale measures the basket height and distance at the state championship court … same as in Indiana.
2. “Miracle” – After football, hockey is my favorite sport. The inspirational speech given by Kurt Russel is word for word from the original by coach Herb Brooks.
3. “We Are Marshall” - Matthew McConaughey stars as head coach Jack Lengyel, with Matthew Fox as assistant coach William “Red” Dawson, David Strathairn as university president Donald Dedmon, and Robert Patrick as ill-fated Marshall head coach Rick Tolley. I love movies where the characters face adversity and aren’t perfect superhero types. You can’t help but be moved by this one.
4. “Rocky Balboa” – Not including the original, I think this was the best. Rocky seems more human and fallible, Adrian is gone and Paulie is his best friend. There are numerous great scenes. I like where he tells Paulie he still has some stuff in the basement. I can identify, both literally and figuratively … one of the best.