You never know that you’re living in the golden age of anything while you’re busy living in it. Case in point: I didn’t realize that I was living in the golden age of sports movies for kids (SMFK) when I myself was a kid.
I am a 90’s kid, born in the 80’s but the decade that shaped my view on sports and popular culture was unquestionably the 1990’s.
Prime Country is the greatest station on satellite radio. I miss when Sports Center showed highlights and every anchor had a million catchphrases. I liked playoff baseball games on NBC right after school with announce teams like Bob Costas, Bob Uecker and Joe Morgan. And perhaps most of all, I liked an era when an inordinate amount of movies were made about kids playing sports.
How good were the SMFK in the early 90’s? How about this:
1992- The Mighty Ducks (Emilio Estevez is a lawyer who does his community service for a DUI by coaching youth hockey, one team gets the measles and his team who can’t skate wins the state championship.)
1993- The Sandlot (A group of friends take in field practice all day for an entire summer until an English mastiff chases a kid for a while.)
1993- Rookie of the Year (Henry Rowengartner breaks his arm and then along with Gary Busey, pitches the Cubs to the World Series.)
1993- Cool Runnings (John Candy is a disgrace to bobsledding but coaches Jamaican sprinters in bobsledding and takes them to Calgary. Hilarity ensues.)
1994- D2: Mighty Ducks 2 (Emilio Estevez gets hurt playing minor league hockey (?) and brings the Ducks back together to win NOT the Olympics. Estevez refuses to play goalie from Bangor because she’s a girl.)
1994- Little Big League (Jason Robards dies, leaves his grandson, Billy, the Minnesota Twins. Billy makes himself the manager and doesn’t go to the playoffs, but the first baseman can marry his mom. She’s single at the time.)
1994- Little Giants (Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neil are brothers ((What?!?!)) and Ed O’Neil won a Heisman Trophy (((WHAT!?!?!?!?!))) and they have an exhibition pee wee football game to see which group of kids don’t get to play peewee football.)
1994- Angels in the Outfield (A very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt see Angels, around the California Angels and somehow they start winning because of this. Disney.)
1995- The Big Green (Soccer movie, I might have seen it once? The kid who played Ham in The Sandlot plays the goalie in this movie because there was natural positional fits between catcher and goalie.)
1996- Space Jam (Michael Jordan plays Michael Jordan, but there are cartoons too. Bill Murray is awesome, this is the top 90’s SMFK for kids born after Y2K.)
1996- Mighty Ducks 3 (JV Coach O’Ryan inherits the entire Ducks team finally sees that Julie The Cat Gaffney ((Bangor,ME)) is better than Goldberg and beats the varsity team at a prep school after the board is about to revoke their scholarships after losing the first game of the season. Makes total sense.)
Those are 11 movies that came out over a 5 year span and all are directed at kids sports. Why is participation in youth sports down these days? Maybe because there aren’t two movies a year showing kids that if you break your arm, there’s a chance that when your cast comes off you will throw 100mph.
Or it doesn’t matter if you can skate, just strap on some rollerblades and go careening through the Mall of America and you’ll be the leading scorer on the Minnesota State pee wee champions.
Now kids want to be Iron Man. I only wanted to be Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.