Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for.....

H is for.....Hoosiers.

The topic for today's post came to me last Saturday. The Butler Bulldogs had just beaten VCU to advance to the national championship. Butler's improbable run to the finals made me think of the movie Hoosiers.

Butler is a small school in Indiana, and many of the kids on the team are small-town Indiana kids. To basketball fans, small-town Indiana basketball players are known as Hoosiers. Another connection between Butler and the movie is Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler plays their home games in Hinkle, which was also the setting for the epic final game in Hoosiers.

Hoosiers is one of my favorite movies. It's about basketball, but like any great sports movie, it's about much more than that. Gene Hackman is great as Norman Dale, the coach with a checkered past. Dennis Hopper is brilliant as Shooter, the town's basketball-loving drunk.

One of my favorite scenes in Hoosiers, or any movie for that matter, is when Coach Dale gets himself thrown out of a game and Shooter has to take over. The team huddles up and Shooter is frozen. Just when it looks like Shooter might wilt under the pressure, his son suggests they run the picket fence. I love the look on Hopper's face as Shooter slowly gains the confidence to diagram the play. It's a powerful scene, one that has stuck with me through the years.

Perhaps the most memorable character in Hoosiers is Jimmy Chitwood, the tortured soul who could shoot the lights out. Jimmy barely speaks in the movie, and he rarely misses a shot on film-I can think of only one shot he missed. In my day, calling a guy Jimmy Chitwood on the basketball court was high praise for one's ability to shoot the rock.

So last Saturday, after Butler won, I found myself whistling the score from Hoosiers and I knew what my H post was going to be. Butler didn't go on to win the national championship, falling one game short for a second season in a row. As a life-long basketball fan, watching those small-town Indiana kids was inspiring.

I'll end with a clip, the last couple minutes of Hoosiers. This ending makes me verklempt every time. What are your favorite sports movies?


  1. That is a fine movie. I always thought the Gene Hackman character was very true to life.

  2. I liked We Are Marshall, Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights (only because the cheerleader got taken out ;p)

    -MJ fellow A to Z blogger

  3. Watching "Rudy" tonight...

    oh, and check your wife's e-mail (mysterious, eh...?)

  4. I know zero about basketball, but I still ended up on page one of Nathan Bransford's bracket challenge. Ha! I bet on all the underdogs because sometimes they win.

  5. Oh, yeah, and congrats on passing 100 followers!!!

  6. Laoch: Hackman is a great actor.

    MJ: Haven't seen We Are Marshall, but I love Titans and Lights.

    Munk: Gotta love Rudy. Will do on the email.

    LG: Nice work on your bracket, and thanks, kind of cool.

    OT: I think it's held up pretty well over the years.

  7. Hoosiers - Nice. Probably the no 1 all time greatest. I'm also a fan of Major League, Jerry Maguire (only because of the Cardinals tie-in,) Slap shot, Raging bull. Fun!

  8. Hoosiers is awesome. I like Remember the Titans.
    I hate Rudy (overwatched at my house - 3 boys +their dad)
    Happy H day!

  9. Squilla's AuntApril 9, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    I watched Hoosiers once, and remember liking it. I'll have to watch it again (this summer?)But I love Remember the has a great soundtrack as well as being an inspiring movie. Haven't seen the movie Friday Night Lights, but I'm a huge fan of the TV series. Tim, if you haven't seen it, you should get it on Netflix. You'll love it.

  10. I've got to say my favorite sports movie is Miracle. : )

  11. "Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit. Ok? No one more important than the other." Can't go wrong with Gene Hackman. Great film.
    So many good sports movies out there. I always loved The Longest Yard. Chariots of Fire is a masterpiece. And even though I hate boxing, Raging Bull is an amazing film. But one of the very best, and funniest, is A League of Their Own. (Course, since I played softball, I'm a bit biased). Fun post! ;)

  12. Hi, and thanks for leaving such a nice comment on my blog. You may not like my post for I, but after that it will be back to nature. Looks like you are a sports fan -- I like sports too, but somehow got tired of basketball. I used to play a girlie version of it in high school back in Sweden, because I was so tall, I guess. Football is cool though.

  13. Love Hoosiers! Probably my favorite. I also like, The Natural, Remember the Titans, Rocky, Major League.

  14. Thought of another one... "Tyson" is an incredible documentary (note: egos abound, both in the subject and the telling). Say what you will about Tyson, the dork, he was an awesome force as a boxer.
    I also like the Hurricane.

  15. I love sports movies and this is definitely one of the best. I was disappointed Butler didn't win it all, I'm not a UConn fan. It would have been great to see the Bulldogs pull it off.

  16. I guess I learn something new every day! I think of Panama when I hear isthmus, but I never knew Madison was on one. How cool! You've got a new follower as well, Tim. :-)

  17. I've never seen the movie *hides-face-in-shame*

    But, I will say, while I appreciate the connection Butler's win made for you, Hoosiers only partially applies to them. They're the Bulldogs. IU are the Hoosiers. And while I know that people from Indiana in general are also called Hoosiers (for whatever reason), it doesn't only apply to small-town basketball players from Indiana. Sorry to be nit-picky, but I'm a Hoosier in the school-sense myself.

    Thanks for the YouTube clip. I think I need to go watch that movie :)