Weekend Watchlist | Sports

By The Pitt News Staff

In honor of March Madness starting this week, our streaming recommendations include movies and television shows about sports.

Secretariat (Disney +) // Diana Velasquez, Senior Staff Writer

Does a movie about a racehorse qualify for a sports weekend watchlist? In my book, it does — when you go to see a horse race you go to a racetrack with a stadium-like thing on the side. And the story of the greatest racehorse in existence — known as Secretariat, but also as the loveable “Big Red” — is as inspiring a tale as any other movie on this list.

Secretariat tells the real life story of Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) who after taking charge of her ailing father’s horse farm in Virginia, finds herself the owner of a spirited and talented red colt after one of her father’s breeding mares gives birth. The colt, who grows quickly into a big beautiful Thoroughbred stallion, soon becomes the talk of the racing community after winning subsequent races back to back leading up to the fabled Triple Crown Races, which is basically the Superbowl for horse racing in the United States. Throughout the movie Chenery faces obstacles in getting Secretariat trained, keeping the farm afloat, generally being respected by her fellow peers in the racing community who look down on her for her role as a former housewife and dealing with the distaste for leading women in the racing scene. 

But not only do Chenery and Secretariat prove all of their naysayers wrong, Secretariat becomes the first Triple Crown Winner in 25 years. And he wins the last race, the Belmont Stakes, by 31 lengths, a feat that has to this day never been bested. It’s not just a horse movie — this isn’t a low-budget Flicka film for you. It’s an inspiring look into the triumphs of a woman who was doubted by everyone in her life, even her family, and by betting on the horse she loved she managed to change the sport forever. 

Hoosiers (Showtime/YouTube) // Ben Bobeck, Senior Staff Writer

15 feet from baseline to free throw line. 10 feet from floor to rim. The measurements that coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) uses to show his team what remains true no matter the stage’s size in the 1986 classic “Hoosiers” will be the same dimensions throughout the 2021 March Madness tournament’s four Indiana-based locations. It’s the small town feel and deep-rooted love of the sport that brought this tournament to that state, and in no medium is that connection better captured than the “based-on-a-true story” tale of the Hickory High basketball squad and their hard-headed coach. 

Throughout the film, Dale must conquer an undermanned roster, a town who distrusts him and his own troubled past in his old collegiate coaching career, eventually guiding the team to the state championship, won on a last-second shot by his reluctant star Jimmy (Maris Valainis). With each viewing, the thrill of that final buzzer-beater finding the net remains magic. The ultimate underdog story of standing tall in the face of harsh adversity is one that should echo loud throughout the various fieldhouses and arenas of the Hoosier state for the next three-plus weeks as the tournament’s field is whittled down game by game. 

“Welcome to Indiana basketball,” Coach Dale tells himself before his first game, opening a barn door to the raucous gymnasium.

Welcome, indeed.

Safety (Disney+) // Julia Smeltzer, Staff Writer

How do you choose between something you love and someone you love? In “Safety,” a true story that debuted on Disney+ in 2020, Ray McElrathbey, a real football player, has to make that very hard decision. The movie follows Ray, a safety at Clemson University, who tries to balance life as an athlete and a brother. But after years of drug addiction and abuse, Ray’s mother enters rehab, leaving behind her youngest son, Faymarr, in the hands of his big brother Ray. This added obstacle means Ray must adjust his life, and adjust it fast. Throughout the film, Ray fights to make sure he can keep both football and his brother in his life. “Safety” is an inspiring true story that shows us that love and family are two things worth fighting for.

Miracle (Disney+) // Hayley Lesh, Staff Writer 

Ice hockey, the Olympics and Disney? That sounds like a must-watch sports movie to me. Based on the true story of the 1980 Olympic ice hockey team, “Miracle” depicts a tale of sacrifice, triumph and defeat. The film centers on Herbs Brooks (Kurt Russell), a coach who is trying to create a team that can bring home an Olympic victory. But Brooks soon learns that this journey is no easy task. With such a young team, tempers and egos run high. Can Brooks bring his team together to achieve the ultimate victory? 

Even as an underrated sports film, “Miracle” offers an inspiring and captivating story. The film not only features some great performances, but it also offers great insight about the Olympics process. I promise that you do not need to be a sports fan to enjoy this movie. 

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