10 Greatest Moments in 90’s Juvenile Sports Cinema

There has been a lot of speculation concerning the the rise in childhood obesity among today’s youth. Why are so…

Raymond Keith Woods


There has been a lot of speculation concerning the the rise in childhood obesity among today’s youth. Why are so many of today’s children so fat? I’ve got a one one word answer: Twinkies. Just kidding (R.I.P my nuclear-blast-surviving friends). Why don’t kids exercise more or go outside and play? Some blame genetics or diet, while others look to socioeconomic factors (fat people tend to be poorer). Others blame media over-saturation (Facebook, TV, cell phones, PlayStation, etc.).

Each argument makes a valid point, but none provide a solution to the problem outside of the obvious: Stop watching TV and go outside! I’m going to suggest that the problem is one of vision. When it comes to weight loss and children, you can’t take an adult point of view to the problem. Adults exercise and lose weight for boring reasons that kids can’t understand: fitting into that dress by the reunion, getting blood pressure under control, easing cholesterol down, triathlon training, etc.). Kids, you see, are dreamers. They have bright, active minds fueled by imagination (and sugar). As a result, even the most ordinary things that kids do (things that adults see as boring and tedious) become fun-filled games, and extra special activities. The same goes for the way kids play sports.

When a kids plays and participates in a sport, there is nothing simple or routine about it. It’s not a game of facts, figures and statistics as an adult might play it. Kids can turn a simple sport into something grandiose. A contest becomes an epic battle of good and evil,  a chance for you to be just like the heroes you cheer on in the World Series or the Superbowl. You see, I think our FLOTUS missed the boat with her whole Let’s Move initiative. You can’t make up rigid fitness plans and structured diets and expect kids to follow it. You have to make sports fun and exciting. You have to make them larger-than-life with a dash of the ridiculous, and huge, brag-worthy stakes. In other words, you have to be a 90’s sports movie.

No other decade captured the fun and joy of what it means to play sports as a kid like the 90’s.

10. Cool Runnings: “Jamaica, We Got A Bobsled Team”

Being a Disney live-action movie is both a blessing and a curse. It’ s a blessing because you know that as a filmmaker you have unlimited resources at your disposal to create your vision. The curse: no matter how good your film is, it’s still viewed under the Disney moniker, which some people won’t take seriously, no matter the product’s quality. It’s a shame because Disney has made some very solid live-action pictures over the decades (The Shaggy D.A., notwithstanding . One of Disney’s finest live-action achievements is the 1993 movie Cool Runnings, based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team to compete in the Olympics. The great thing about Cool Runnings is that, unlike most sports movies or serious biographies, it is not a heavy-handed tale of overcoming the odds. Of course, the Jamaican bobsled team faced enormous odds and prejudice while trying to reach their goal, but that did not mean their spirit, that wonderful Jamaican spirit of brotherhood and peace (Bob Marley, anyone?) had to suffer. Director Jon Turtletaub, of National Treasure, fame made sure to infuse his film with the same joyous, humorous spirit that emanates from the wonderful Jamaican isle. The result is a very special sports movie that dares to keep its hopes up and not pile gloom on the audience, in spite of the odds that the characters face, and for that it deserves far more credit and notoriety than it’s given.

I could have picked a moment from one of the great, and often hilarious bobsled races that take place throughout the film, but I decided to go with one of the better gags from the film. The team has to raise money for the Olympics, which inspires our four leads to think of some very creative ways to get their hands on the dough. Doug E. Doug, playing the character Sanka, comes up with a rather funny, and downright catchy anthem in hopes of inspiring people to rally for the cause. Suffice to say, it doesn’t go so well, but the song becomes sort of the official fight song of the Jamaican team. Here is a tiny snippet of the song:

Oh, by the way, John Candy deserved an Oscar nod for his portrayal of disgraced Olympian and Jamaican bobsled team coach Irving Blitzer.