Monday, June 23, 2008

If the great sports movies were about wrestling

If the great sports movies were about wrestling

It’s the twentieth anniversary of one of my favorite all-time sports movies – Bull Durham.


I’ve always loved sports movies. I suppose Brian’s Song was one of my first contemporary favorites. The sappier the ending – the better. I’ve seen the ending of Rudy at least 100 times. I know that he’s going to finally “get to dress”, that he’s going to play, that he’s going to sack the Georgia Tech quarterback and that the team is going to carry him off the field – and yet – I cry every single time.

(BTW – Does anyone know if the Ruettigers that have wrestled at Northern Illinois over the past few years are related to Rudy)?

What if some of my favorite sports movies had been about wrestling.

Pin Durham

Scene: Office of Durham University wrestling coach, “Cement Mixer” Jones. Coach Jones speaks to his assistant, Bud Cauliflower.

Jones: “Bud, we gotta do something about LaMat. He’s either scoring spectacular pins or getting pinned himself. I never know before a meet whether to expect six points for us or six point for them.”

Enter Terry “Crash” Brands.

Crash: “Cement Mixer, what in the heck am I doing back on a college campus. I’ve been working the last few years at the Olympic Training Center.”

Jones: “Have you ever heard of “suspension of disbelief?”

Crash: “What?”

Jones: “Never mind. Crash, we got this kid – Nuke LaMat – I’ve never seen anyone with more potential. He has a complete arsenal of skills and he’s as quick as all get out. He just can’t stay under control. He’s the ultimate “pin or get-pinned” wrestler. The big club (USOC) wants you to see if you can bring him along.”

Scene: Durham University student union. Nuke is the center of attention among a group of college co-eds. Crash walks up to Nuke.

Crash: “Hey – I hear you’re the wrestling stud around here. Ya wanna go?”

Nuke: “You don’t wanna go with me, Old Man.”

Crash: “Come on kid – I gotta hunch about you.”

They tie up, circle for a few seconds and Nuke tries an inside trip. Crash
counters, throws Nuke to his back and pins him.

Nuke: “Wow, that was some move. Who are you?”

Crash: “I’m your new workout partner.”

As the movie progresses Nuke gets under control and he starts beating
better and better opponents. The Olympic Trials are nearing. Crash sits down
for one last talk with Nuke.

Crash: “Nuke, at first some of these guys are going to light you up. They’ve wrestled a lot more freestyle than you have – but you’re going to be great.”

“You need to start working on your clichés.”

Nuke: “My what”

Crash: “Your clichés – for the interviews. Here – write these down.”

“I love the sport because it’s just you and your opponent. There’s no place to hide. There are no excuses.”

“I don’t worry about my opponent’s style. I just try to force my style on him.”

“I’m just focusing on the next match.”

Rams (Hoosiers)

Scene: Coach Paul Scott leads his team from Cornell College into the gym on the University of Illinois campus.

Scott: “Lowell, take this tape measure. How wide is the mat?”

Lange: “40 feet, coach.”

Scott: “How long is the mat, Lowell?”

Lange: “40 feet.”

Scott: “That’s exactly the same size as our mat at home.”

Coach Scott, Lowell Lange, Dick Hauser and the rest of his team from Cornell
College in Mount Vernon, IA would go on to become the smallest school ever
to win the NCAA wrestling championship.

Jesse (Rudy)

Scene: Hallway outside of the University of Iowa wrestling room. Kindly janitor speaks.

Janitor: “You are so fulla crap! You’re five foot nothin’ – a hundred and nothin’ – and you ain’t got a speck of athletic talent. Yet you hung in there for four years with the best wrestlers in the country. Now get out there and let’s see what you can do.”

“Strongest man in the world!”

Pac-Ten (Major League)

Scene: College dropout athletic director walks into the office of his wrestling coach.

AD: “I want a baseball team and I don’t like wrestling. You guys are gone.”

The ending of this movie is not yet written. You can help with the script. Go
to to find out how.

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