Everything old is new again
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - March 30, 2020 - 12:00am

“Don’t throw the past away You might need it some rainy day Dreams can come true again When everything old is new again” – Peter Allen, “Everything Old Is New Again”

Sports minds can’t keep still.

On mainstream and social media, the lack of current, fresh content has driven writers, reporters and editors in three directions. One group tracks down sports celebrities and personalities rendered homebound by the quarantine, and finds out what they are doing. Many are working out at home, in their backyards or private gyms. Some ride stationary bikes to keep their endurance up; others ride real bicycles in the quiet of their villages. Many, from retired two-time PBA Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso to undefeated world boxing contender Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo, share their workout routines on social media. All these public sports figures are hoping to inspire people to get creative about staying fit in this forced idleness.

The second group has a more challenging task: stimulating thought and conversation. That group usually comes up with new “greatest of all time” lists, or “what if” scenarios. After all, there is a lot of space still to fill, and what better way to do that than to incite debate? The easier way is to produce one’s own list, and add a controversial choice or two, to rile people up. They know that they have a captive market that they share with Netflix and other streaming services. 

The third group probably has the most fun – or tedious – task: finding great sports content to watch. Of course, there are a lot of classic sports films and documentaries to watch, either legally or from pirated sites, too. Rewatching the more socially relevant and thought-provoking ones is better than checking your brains at the door with something new but senseless. 

Not so recent but substantial feature films include historical and racial stories like “Glory Road” and “Coach Carter,” women’s boxing movies like “Mary Kom” and “Million-Dollar Baby,” and classic football films like “Friday Night Lights,” “Any Given Sunday” and “The Blind Side.” There are also comedies like “The Mighty Ducks” (which is getting a reboot), and Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard.” To be honest, the 1974 original starring Burt Reynolds is still much better. The name of the all-prisoner football team in both movies was “Mean Machine,” which is, incidentally, also the title of another football (soccer this time) comedy starring Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. 

Among the documentaries, there’s “The Carter Effect” (which nicely illustrates how Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors stimulated the business market in the Canadian City; “Iverson,” “Icarus” (about Russian doping in the Olympics), “Counterpunch,” “Losers,” the controversial “Game Changers” (involving successful athletes on a plant-based diet) and so many biographies that make for compelling viewing. If you want to think, there are true stories turned into movies like “Concussion” (featuring Will Smith) and “Moneyball” (with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill). And for inspiration, you can try “Soul Surfer,” the true story of Bethany Hamilton’s triumphant return to competitive surfing after a shark bit off her left arm. For something intense, the 1980 Jake LaMotta biographical film “Raging Bull” was the only sports movie included in Time Magazine’s list of 100 greatest American films of all time.

If you’re in the mood for no-brainers, you can sit through (from oldest to most recent) “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh,” which featured performances from Julius Erving and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and the irrepressible Bill Murray in “Space Jam,” and what hardcore comedy fans consider Adam Sandler’s masterpiece, “Happy Gilmore.” If you want NBA player cameos, you can check out the implausible “Like Mike.”

Just make sure to get up from the couch and work up a sweat after all that popcorn. Stay safe.

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