What I Learned From Movie X
By Tom Houseman
October 13, 2009
What I Learned from Kids' Sports Movies
"Every kid dreams of growing up to become a sports star." Is this an overly simplistic generalization? Perhaps, but Hollywood has certainly made a lot of movies based on this assumption. I know that I absolutely fell into this category, and I made my parents waste a lot of money taking me to every movie Hollywood made about kids playing sports, spending obscene amounts of money on candy, popcorn and soda to ensure that I would never have the physique of a sports star. These absurdly formulaic films always featured the underdog coming back against insurmountable odds to beat the cocky Goliaths (who generally wore black). These are movies that the chimpanzee from Ed could have written, and I ate them up like they were milk duds.
And what was the best part of all of these movies? Was it the valuable lessons the players learned? Was it the way they were able to overcome their insecurities and, through teamwork and dedication, learn that they're all really winners? Heck no! It was the totally awesome trick plays that the kids used to fool the other team, making their over-confident opponents look like morons. These plays were totally outrageous and totally awesome, inspiring kids everywhere to try them out for themselves, with varying degrees of success. If, like me, you never doubted just how brilliant these trick plays were, then this article is for you. I'll break down, for your reading pleasure, some of the best trick plays in kids sports film history, analyzing them both for their levels of awesomeness and how realistically they could be pulled off in an actual game situation.
1) The Flying V
From: The Mighty Ducks
Awesome Factor: 6
The Mighty Ducks might be the definitive '90s kids' sports movie, and there is no more definitive moment from that film than when the ragtag group of misfits unleash their secret weapon: The Flying V. An unstoppable force, the Ducks skate towards the opposite goal in the shape of a V (like real ducks, get it?). They pass the puck back and forth between their legs, so that the other team has no idea where it is until it's too late. Led by Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson, dreamy even then), the Flying V helped the Ducks defeat the Hawks and finally give coach Gordon Bombay closure after years of being tortured by memories of losing the big game when he played peewee hockey. And a good time was had by all.
Realism Factor: 4
Well, the Flying V works well in theory — wait, scratch that, the Flying V works horribly in theory. In a sport where strategy is based around spreading out around the ice, having every single player on your team skate down the middle of the rink in a big clump seems like a horrible idea. The Ducks realize the major flaw in this attack during the film's sequel, D2: The Mighty Ducks, when they try this play during the Junior Goodwill Games while representing Team USA. The physically dominant Iceland team simply stands in a line and waits for the Ducks to crash into them, at which point they steal the puck and skate towards the goalie at their leisure, because every single Duck is lying on the floor realizing how moronic the play they just attempted was. Fortunately, by this time they have developed an even more absurd trick play to help them conquer their Icelandic foes...