Family Movies for the Homebound VI: Kids Playing Sports

Posted on April 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Copyright 20th Century Fox 2002

It’s tough for kids to be unable to play their favorite sports due to the restrictions from social distancing. It might help to watch some classic and beloved films about kids and teenagers playing sports.


The Sandlot:  In the 1960s, a boy whose mother has just remarried moves to a new town and begins to make friends when he joins in a sandlot baseball game. The boy’s challenges include developing some baseball skills, trying to achieve a comfortable relationship with his new stepfather (Denis Leary), and finding a way to triumph over “The Beast ” (a junkyard dog) and the bigger, tougher kids who challenge his friends to a game. All are well handled in this exceptionally perceptive story of growing up.

Rookie of the Year: In this fantasy film Thomas Ian Nicholas plays a so-so Little League player until he breaks his arm and finds that his “tendons have healed too tight” making him, suddenly, a Major League-level pitcher.  As a hitter? Well, he benefits from a very small strike zone.


Like Mike: The script is right out of the Hollywood formula box, with everything from two different “shoes not there at the crucial moment” scenes and important lessons about teamwork to the winning shot going into the basket just as the buzzer goes off., but it is sweet and fun.

The Mighty Macs: This uplifting film is based on the real-life story of Cathy Rush, a powerhouse basketball coach at a tiny Catholic women’s college who took her team all the way to the top.

Coach Carter:  We all love movies about underdog teams that come from behind because they (1) learn the importance of teamwork, (2) learn the importance of discipline and of respect for themselves and each other, (3) are galvanized by an inspiring leader, or, even better, (4) all of the above. This movie, based on a true story, takes it a step further, with an emphasis on schoolwork as well.


Pride: Like all sports stories, this is about teamwork, but the team that matters here is Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac who bring such conviction and authenticity to this story of an inner-city Pennsylvania 70’s swim team that you can smell the chlorine and half expect Fat Albert to wander in with Mushmouth.

Touch the Wall: The documentary about champion swimmer Missy Franklin is a candid portrayal of the hard work — and the conflicts of loyalty and friendship — that are a part of competitive sports.


Soul Surfer: AnnaSophia Robb stars as Bethany Hamilton, a competitive surfer who came back better than ever after a shark attack.


Believe: Brian Cox plays real-life superstar soccer (football) manager Sir Matt Busby, who survived the tragic plane crash when eight of his players did not. When he encounters a gifted young player from an unruly kids’ team, both he and the team have something to learn.


The Mighty Ducks: A slick lawyer is caught driving drunk and ordered by the court to coach a rag-tag kids’ hockey team in this beloved Disney film starring Emilio Estavez.

Martial Arts

Three Ninjas: Three sons of an FBI agent are kidnapped and use their martial arts skills to defeat the bad guys.

The Karate Kid: The classic original and the 2010 remake are both terrific stories about boys who use the discipline and training of martial arts to triumph over an arrogant bully. Fans can also enjoy the sequels and the current Cobra Kai series.

Figure Skating

Ice Princess: A straight-A student brings math to ice skating in this charming Disney film.


An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars: Real-life Olympics star Cathy Rigby stars as the coach in this heartwarming story about friendship, family, and gymnastics.

Stick It: This film about a girl forced to return to gymnastics after she gets into trouble is pure delight — smart, funny, gorgeously cinematic, and all about real girl power.

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For Your Netflix Queue Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families Not specified Sports Stories About Kids Stories about Teens

Interview: Dude Perfect’s Tyler Toney

Posted on May 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Dude Perfect is the second largest sports channel on YouTube, with over 4.5 million subscribers and more than 556 million views.  (2021 update: over 56 million subscribers!)

They are a group of five best friends (plus a panda) from Texas who love sports, comedy and living a positive and faith-based life. Their channel is best known for their trick shots, “stereotypes” parodies, and athletes + Dude Perfect videos.  They are committed to living and sharing their faith, and their charitable work includes Nothing but Nets, Compassion International, and Herobox.

“We basically started six years ago kind of on accident,” Dude Tyler Toney told me in a phone interview.  They were all living together and enjoyed hanging out and playing games. “We weren’t really planning on making a viral video or even making a business model out of our first video. We were in the backyard in college and we just started shooting these basketball shots. It was an all grass backyard so we didn’t couldn’t really play actual games or anything. So we decided to get the video camera out and everybody wanted to top each others shots. Pretty soon we had a video and Good morning America called two days later and wanted to air it on TV.”

They have performed some wild trick shots and stunts. “I would say the hardest was one probably the first sling shot that we did. We basically went out in my families’ ranch and we had cut down this tree and basically made like a duct tape pouch and this thing would launch the basketball like 100 yards. So with the wind in the way that the ball was released out of the pouch it was pretty hard shot. So when that one finally went in we were pretty excited about that.  We started filming about 2 o’clock and filmed till dark and then got up the next morning and probably made it around lunch time so that’s was probably the longest it had taken us to make a shot.”

The Dudes are very excited about all of the athlete and performing artist guest stars who have appeared in their videos. “I continue to keep being blown away at how awesome so many of these athletes and celebrities are and how great the personalities they have are.  I mean Russell Wilson and Tim McGraw those guys were both actually incredible. Coach Carroll was awesome to work with. We got to do that thing with Odell Beckham Jr. for the Superbowl this year which was absolutely incredible. You’re just constantly reminded of how talented and how incredible these guys are when you get to see them in person. I always think the most recent one was actually the most impressive.”

“We’re really looking forward to filming with Steph Curry.  We are are supposed to film with him by the end of this year. We’ve been interacting with Lebron several times.  We’d love to film a full video with him at some point.  What’s crazy is we have gotten to the point where a lot of these athletes are reaching out to us wanting to film a video because it’s just fun for them and lets their fans and their sports audience see a different side of them that you never get to see.  We did the one with the Dallas Stars.  A lot of people they had never seen Jamie and Tyler with the helmets off so nobody really knew what their personalities were like. So it’s cool to be in a position where these athletes can reach out to us to film a video.”

The Dude Perfect crew works with the guests to come up with ideas.   “They will basically reach out and say, ‘Hey we’re interested in filming the video; what do you guys think?’ And then we kind of put the main idea of the video together and then when we’re out there they always try a couple of things — ‘I think I could probably do this shot.’  It is kind of collaborative but it works out really well.”

They have developed an even greater appreciation for the skill, professionalism, and work ethic of the athletes they have met.  “I remember specifically when we were filming with Ryan Tannehill, the quarterback with the Dolphins, we went down there to Dick’s Sporting Goods in Florida and we basically were there all that night filming.  We were supposed to be there for a few hours and we ended up staying there longer than that but he was so accurate in making these shots that it didn’t take him long at all. I think he ended up making over 10 shots in the video just because it was so easy for him to make all these different shots that we were throwing at him, so it was really cool to film that version.”

I especially enjoyed the humor of the “Stereotypes” series of parodies of obnoxious behavior.  It was clear that the Dudes are strategic as well as fun-loving.

“It was really big for us because we knew we wanted to diversify our content.  First we were the basketball trick shot guys. And then it was guys that do the trick shots in general whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or whatever. Then it was a guys who worked with athletes, celebrities and friends to film these videos.  Stereotypes was the first video series, it was kind of branching out. It was totally different than the trick shots and is actually more popular than trick shot videos I think for a couple reasons.  It reaches an audience that is so much.  The basketball stereotypes produced around 20 million views. We knew that we had to continue to do more of those videos and so that has been a theme for us moving forward.  We’ll probably be adding two new video series to our line-up throughout the rest of this year.  The stereotypes has been a huge part of our success and really kind of paved the way for how we are going to make content going forward.”

At the core of what they do is their faith.  “We are all very fortunate to grow up in Christian homes and some really good families that while we were young made sure we were in church every Sunday and then once we got a little bit older encouraged us to really make that relationship with Jesus ours.  We just feel like God has given us this platform not just to make money, not just to be famous and take a lot of pictures with people but to really influence a lot of people. And so it’s been really cool the conversations that we get to have with people who want to talk about our faith. It’s been pretty neat because for the most part it’s been really accepting I think the way we go about it helps too. I know Christians for the most part kind of get a bad rap but our main goal is just to love people in the way that God loves us and treat people the way that we want to be treated.  It’s been really cool to see the response that we have gotten from that.”

You can follow Dude Perfect on Instagram,  Twitter, and Facebook.

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Comedy Internet, Gaming, Podcasts, and Apps Sports

Are You Ready for some Football? Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Posted on February 3, 2013 at 8:00 am

Get ready with one of my favorite football movies:

Or this one:

Or this one:

(Did you catch Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panitierre?)

There’s more Ryan Gosling in this little-seen football movie gem:

Or you could try this one, featuring real-life college football player Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson:

Or watch them all at once!

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For the London Olympics: A Movie Quiz

Posted on July 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm

The Olympics have inspired a lot of great (and not-so-great) movies, both fact-based and fictional. Which ones can you identify?
1. A warm-weather country competed in a cold-weather sport in which fact-based Disney film?
2. Which Oscar-winning movie was the story of two Olympic runners?
3. There are two different movies about which real-life Olympic champion runner?
4. Which Olympic decathlete played himself in a movie based on his life?
5. Athletes from rival countries fall in love in this movie that is fiction in more ways than one — it has America competing in an Olympics that in real life the US boycotted.
6. One of the wildest Olympics movies ever made has a team from an almost-bankrupt country where all the citizens have super-athletic ability. Which classic comedian starred?
7. Animals compete in the Olympics in which animated feature?
8. Who stars in a movie about a gold medalist who defects who has to fight for his life when his former coach comes after him?
9. Which real-life Olympic star appeared in one of the biggest musical movie flops of all time and now appears in reality television?
10. Which movie is the tragic story of one of America’s greatest Olympic athletes being stripped of his medals?
11. Which Olympic medalist appeared in a movie about an athlete starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy?
12. Which movie about the Olympics featured Cary Grant?
Bonus question: Which Olympic and world champion became one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood?

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Quiz Sports

Ron Masak Meets His Heroes

Posted on May 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Ron Masak’s face and voice are more familiar than his name. As Sheriff Mort Metzger in “Murder She Wrote” he appeared with Angela Lansbury as the mystery novelist who ran into a different real-life mystery every week. And he has been called the “King of Commercials” for his appearance in hundreds of radio and television ads. This career has given him the opportunity to meet up with many of the biggest stars of sports, show business, and more. He has written about his encounters with heroes from Buzz Aldrin and Muhammad Ali to Bill Cosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and Elvis Presley in a charming book called I’ve Met All My Heroes From A To Z. Send me an email at to tell me what celebrity you’d like to meet and the first one I receive will win a copy of this book.

Ron was nice enough to answer my questions.

Which of the people you met was least like his or her public persona?

The fact that they made the book means that they were all pretty much what they appeared to be. Lucy of course was a brilliant business woman as well.

Which one taught you the most important lesson?

My wife…taught me to “be yourself. My college director had the same advice.

My favorite part of your book is your loving tribute to your wife. What did she
teach your children about how to be a parent?

Be a living example to them…Teach them right from wrong, to “be themselves” and never let them leave the house without hearing “I love you.”

I’m a Chicagoan, too — so what’s your favorite place for pizza in Chicago?

In my youth it was Venuccis, Chesdens, and Home Run Inn.

Do you find that the same qualities lead to achievement whether it is in acting, sports, or the military?

Yes, the challenge, the preparation, the ability to perform your duties.

Who is the bravest of your heroes and why?

Audie Murphy, most decorated man in WWII, medal of honor winner. Who could top that?

Who is the funniest?

In my book a tie between George Burns, Jerry Lewis, Lucy, and Cosby. Not in my book? Shecky Greene.

As the King of Commercials, what is the most important thing to remember in
making an ad?

Timing…If you are brilliant and it’s too long it is wasted.

Do you really have to like the product?

I do.

One surprising thing about your book is the unexpected kindness shown by many of
the people you write about. Do you have a favorite example?

They were all so generous with their time and talent. Roy Rogers, catching a Special Olympian out of the corner of his eye as we were leaving, going over to him in his wheelchair, kneeling and spending time with him. He was special….he was everything you wanted your hero to be.

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