Why You Should Watch a Football Movie Monday Night


I’m a big nerd and I hate football. But MAN, do I love a good football movie! They’re exactly the kind of high-spirited motivating fable to get me out and to the polls on Election Day.


It’s been a little while since Hollywood churned out a tropy, feel-good football flick, so you’ll want to dig into the vault for this pre-election viewing.

The classics of the genre are Rudy, Friday Night Lights, and Remember the Titans, but there are dozens of others to pick from. You might pick a decade and then let that guide your choice. Or, maybe you have a favorite actor that will be the determining factor. Go nuts.

Here’s what you’ll get:

The Underdog Hero

This character will be plucky or downtrodden or legally disenfranchised. Whatever the case, you’re going to LOVE him right away.


You’ll also look at the odds: one little person facing a whole league…and this hero probably isn’t even on the TEAM yet? How can he make a difference?

Just you wait and see!

The Unlikable Leader

The coach is possibly a drunk. He’s probably cruel. He’s almost certainly gruff.


He does, though, have the best intentions for the team at heart. He wants them to win or to discover their potentials or to stand up for what’s right.  He is imperfect and maybe even grotesquely flawed, but he’s a leader we can support.

If enough of the team can just put their spirit into the game with enough energy, they will rise up to the hopes of that leader. And in the end, that will be the real goal—not accomplishing what the coach needs, but becoming the team the team needs!

At Least One (And Likely Many) Failed Games

The team will fall short of the coach’s demands for most of the movie, probably all the way up to then end of Act II.

It’s likely that some of the team members embody the very worst characteristics that the coach wants the team to have not at all.

Or maybe one drinks too much.

Or is a racist.

varsity pig

Almost certainly, the hero doesn’t believe in himself enough to become the heart of the team he needs to be. These failures will manifest themselves on the gridiron and make the team lose. It will make you very sad, but not as sad as…

The Coach’s/Hero’s Tragedy

About three-quarters of the way into the movie, we’ll discover some horrible tragedy. It’s probably about the coach (he might die, but it could be something else). It may also be that the hero faces some terrible tragedy here. Whatever the case, it will be potent enough to bring the whole team together to learn from their mistakes and take on the big game at the end.


They will be motivated by the tragic turn of events to stop doing the things they do all the time and go out and slog it out in the spirit they know is right! Even if they’ll probably lose!

The Big Game

In the end, the team will go out and try. They’ll do their parts. Nine times out of ten, they’ll win only by one point. And yes, they might even lose.


They will have played as they should! You’ll be cheering—teary-eyed—on your couch! The lesson they should have learned will be a visceral fire, brimming in your heart…

…spurring you to stand! To cheer!



Because that’s your part. And that’s what coach wanted you to be the whole time.

If you are unsure about how and where to vote tomorrow (Tuesday, November 6), you can find all the information you need at www.vote.org. If you are not registered, it’s possible you even live in a state that allows same-day voting. Voting is pretty easy, it just requires standing in line—maybe even for a couple hours like at a theme park (so bring your phone to play with if you aren’t a good conversationalist).

Voting hours may overlap with your work hours. But that’s okay. The spirit of that movie will energize you in such a way that, when you go ask your boss if you can take off a little early to get to the polls in time, she’ll almost certainly applaud your civic contribution and cheer you on like you cheered for the underdog hero.

Because that’s what we all are, right?

you can do it

Come visit Micah at Zionsville Books & Brews. He’s there a few times a week in the evenings.

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