ByKyle Monda, writer at
Kyle Monda

Every movie has its fair share of clichés. Although some more than others, they are lurking inside some of your favorite films.

If you are a fan of sports movies, you may have noticed the hackneyed plots and same characters reappearing in nearly every film.

1. The Rise to Stardom

Most of these sports movies introduce the main character to have a destiny to play a particular sport. There seems to be some sort of opposition holding them back preventing them from doing what they love. Eventually, the athlete rises to the point where he/she can compete at a higher stage.

Example: Rudy – This college football classic tells a story about a determined Daniel E. 'Rudy' Ruettiger, who was told he was too small to play football at the next level.

Eddie the Eagle example: Eddie fell flat in his previous attempts to select an Olympic event he was talented enough in. With minimal support from his father, Eddie eventually prevails in qualifying for the Olympics.

2. The Inspirational Coach

It is right around here where the protagonist seeks guidance from a typically older, and former participant or legend from the game. From this point, the coach supplies the athlete with the inspiration and insight to the game that they needed. A close death to the main character could serve as crucial motivation as well.

Example: Hoosiers – In this basketball drama, Coach Norman Dale leads his team to championship contention despite his up and down past.

Eddie the Eagle example: Hugh Jackman plays a drunk, washed up Olympic athlete who becomes Eddie’s mentor and father figure that gives him the appropriate training he needs.

3. The Training

Shortly after the athlete establishes a relationship and the special bond with his/her coach, the training begins! This is where we hear the pump-up music and series of scenes showing the hero training extensively to prepare for the big event, where generally something important is on the line.

Example: Rocky – In arguably the most well-known sports movie of all time, Stallone’s ‘Rocky’ prepares for his big fight while the famous Rocky theme (Gonna Fly Now) plays in the background.

Eddie the Eagle example: Both Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman’s characters work together to create a comedic and enjoyable sequence of training.

4. The Opposition/Rival

Right as the coach and student are officially bind, the bad guy comes along. This is who the protagonist or athlete will ultimately face in the end. At this point, right as the athlete feels unbeatable, the insulting rival comes along to only make things more difficult for the characters.

Example: Cinderella Man – Although the underlying evil in this movie is the Great Depression, rival boxer to Jim Braddock, (Russell Crowe) Max Baer displays his intentions by killing two other boxers in the ring and displays his disrespect by stating comments regarding Braddock’s wife.

Eddie the Eagle example: It is hard to pinpoint an absolute rival for Eddie, however some may include the various ski jump heights and his teammates in fact, and who attempted to sabotage Eddie into missing the opening ceremony.

5. The Unfavorable Injury or Struggle

At the worst possible time, the athlete develops an injury, some sort of issue is revealed about the coach’s past, causing a breakup. Or the coach comes to the realization that they don’t stand a chance against their opposition.

Example: The Blind Side – Main character Michael Oher collides with another vehicle, injuring S.J. and also wounding his relationship with Leigh Anne.

Eddie the Eagle example: Growing up, knee problems never slowed down Eddie from fulfilling his Olympic dreams. Coach Bronson Peary disagrees with Eddie’s decision to enter the Olympics his first year.

6. The Motivational Speech

After the conflict develops between the two, they eventually forgive and forget what had happened and the coach delivers a moving and enthusiastic speech that will unite the two and hopefully provide them with the necessary motivation to win.

Example: Remember the Titans – Denzel Washington’s ‘Coach Boone’ delivers a moving speech that happens to be the turning point in the film.

Eddie the Eagle example: Jackman’s ‘Bronson Peary’ gives Eddie plenty of helpful tips and tricks throughout his training. Despite a fallout between the two, Peary supports Eddie’s decision to participate in the games and encourages him throughout.

7. The Triumph

Ultimately, in the end it is a sports movie. Whether it is a true story or not, the hero will most likely prevail in some type of way. Whether this is actually winning the competition against the rival we met earlier, or even if they lose, their spirits remain high and we all learn a valuable lesson.

Example: Creed – Although Adonis Creed loses to ‘Pretty Ricky Conlan', he does win the affection of the crowd, thus “winning the night.”

Eddie the Eagle example: Eddie Edwards warmed many hearts during his Olympic run and in the end breaks a British ski jump record.

Despite these worn out sports hero clichés, Eddie the Eagle is an encouraging film and uplifting film in which Taron Egerton portrays an influential character greatly. Eddie competed for the joy of the sport, not in any expectation of winning a medal, which undoubtedly inspires viewers of any age.


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