Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light The Score On Sports With Frank Deford

How to Make Your Very Own Sports Movie

Commentator Frank Deford performs in a made-for-radio sports movie. Pick your sport, pick your characters, it does not matter. It comes out the same every time.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


It's been 30 years since Rocky Balboa first went toe-to-toe with heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Many sequels later, 60-year-old Sylvester Stallone is in the ring again, this time in the movie “Rocky Balboa.” The film does not open until next month, but commentator Frank Deford says you've already seen it.

FRANK DEFORD: Really, do we need another Rocky movie? Perhaps this time Sylvester Stallone will be fighting for the AARP title. But I don't want to pick on Rocky. All sports movies including, I might say, a couple I've written myself, are exactly the same. It doesn't make any difference - a boxer, a racehorse, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, you name it; they're all the same.

And so to save you the trouble of ever having to go see another sports movie, here just for you is your one-size-fits-all sports movie script.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Act I: The introduction of hopelessness.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: You are the sorriest excuse for a team I've ever coached. I quit!

Listen, muffin, I know how much you loved Blue Comet. But face it, honey, no horse has ever run in the derby with a prosthetic leg before.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Act II: Hope arrives in a surprise package.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Sure, Bunky is an old drunk and a lot of people think the game has passed him by. But if anybody can make a winner, it's Bunky. What do you say? Give him a chance?

All right, Daddy.

What have I got to lose if I want to be the champ.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Act III: Unusual strategy.

Okay, team, here's what we're going to do. I remember this formation from back in '72 when I was coaching State U. If it was good enough then, it'll work now if you trust me. You got trouble with that, Mickey?

Blue Comet loves ya, muffin. That means he'll run his best if we put a girl jockey on him. Ginger don't want to be a stripper no more. Here's her chance to show she can do what she really loves.

I know you don't want to see KO hurt, Blanche. Even if he's losing his eyesight, let him have that one more shot at the title.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Act IV: The climactic contest

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Hey guys, I don't care what the experts say. We can win. And Mickey, all right, you showed me you care enough about the team and not just yourself. I'm putting you back in the starting lineup.

Ginger, Blue Comet can't read the odds board. He don't know he's a hundred to one. Let them other horses fight over the lead. But when you hit the quarter pole, then just hang on for dear life.

Never mind what they say KO. It ain't fists going to win this fight; it's heart. And I wouldn't trade yours for no valentine in the world.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: Finally, of course, victory.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: There's no time left on the clock. Throw it Mickey! Throw it! Yeah, he got it! You guys won the Rose Bowl!

No, coach, we won the Rose Bowl.

Here she comes, muffin! She's flying now! Come on Blue Comet! Come on Blue Comet! One more jump! Yeah, yeah! He won the Derby, muffin!

No, Mr. Bunky, we won the Derby.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: (Unintelligible). You did it KO! You did it! You're the champ!

No, Bunky, we're the champs, together.

(Soundbite of music)

DEFORD: The sequel, The Champ Returns, will open next week.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Frank Deford is a senior contributing screenwriter at Sports Illustrated. He performs for us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light The Score On Sports With Frank Deford