Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

Be The Ball: Great Fatherly Advice from the 10 Best Sports Films of All Time

image courtesy of http://argotanochre.com
They say enrolling your kids in organized sports will teach them many valuable life lessons (sportsmanship, teamwork, selflessness, discipline). But what about us First-Time Fathers? For us, there's always our beloved sports flicks from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Life lessons abound in these classic films about the underdog, and if you pay close attention you might even find some great fatherly advice you can pass on to your kids.

#1. Rocky (1976)
This is the underdog film of the century. It's all about determination, against all odds. Sure, there's a love story in there, but you'll understand the power of Adrian's tough love come Rocky III.   

Life Lessons:
1) Chance favors the prepared mind (kinda), 2) A split decision can be the ultimate win, 3) Beating the "meat" only makes you stronger, 4) It's never hurts to have God on your side, and 5) There's nothing wrong with being a "southpaw" (for those lefties out there).

#2. Caddy Shack (1980)
This one's a safe bet as one of the funniest films of all time. You don't even have to appreciate golf to recognize a hole in one. 

Life Lessons: 
1) It only takes a chocolate bar to clear a public pool, 2) Never leave the top down on your convertible if you plan on parking it outside a restaurant that serves alcohol to minors, 3) Animals are sometimes smarter than humans, 4) You don't have to be rich to get the girl, just invited to the party, 5) It's not what you know, it's who you know, and 6) when you have the right skill set, everybody wants you on their team.  

#3. Slap Shot (1977)
Take a team of ne'er-do-wells, put their backs up against the wall, let them loose and watch them fight their way to the playoffs. That's the theme behind this classic cult film that brought us some of the funniest footage ever watched on a VCR. 

Life Lessons:  
1) Good sportsmanship won't always pay off, 2) It's okay for adults to still play with toys, and 3) There's no job security, so do what you have to do to survive. 

#4. Rudy (1993)
Think of the little engine that could, but in a sports film, and you'll have this gem of a football flick that says your don't have to be big in stature to make your mark on the world. 

Life Lessons: 
1) Follow your dreams, 2) Work hard for what you want in life, 3) Let your passion drive you wherever it may, 4) No one can do it all by himself, and you should never be too proud to accept the help of a stranger, 5) Small minds are a problem, not small bodies, and 6) It's okay for a man to cry (that's for all the guys that try to hide that single tear every time they catch this on TV). 

#5. The Natural (1984)
Here's a film that says you're never too old to become the person you were meant to be (or a father for that matter). 

Life Lessons: 
1) Never gloat (in a dark room, with a crazy women all dressed in black concealing a weapon), 2) Use a condom (so you don't leave town and saddle your high school sweetheart with having to raise your kid alone for 15 years), 3) Practice makes perfect, and 4) Swing for the fences, and don't let anybody talk you out of doing what you were meant to do. 

#6. Jerry Maguire (1996) 
Plot: Man has the whole world at his fingertips. Man has a slice of bad pizza, writes a mission statement that's before its time and watches the world slip through his fingertips, only to have the comeback of a lifetime (with a little help from his friends). You had me at "Show me the money!"

Life Lessons: 
1) "We live in a cynical world of tough competitiors," 2) It takes no time at all to go from being a superstar to a nobody, 3) If you want to inspire people, play the game from the heart, 4) Don't say "F@#&" in front of a kid unless you're willing to take him to the zoo, 5) When you have no one else, it's okay to confide in your goldfish, and 6) Learning sign language pays off.  

#7. Remember the Titans (2000)
Here's a fantastic film about segregation disguised as one of the best sports films ever made. If we're talking Life Lessons, this film, about a high school football team coming together as one cohesive unit, has some of the very best to offer.

Life Lessons: 
1) You can't know your future unless you know your past, 2) Change is inevitable, 3) Open minds produce fantastic results, 4) How "to trust the soul of a man rather than the look of him," and 5) It doesn't matter if you like others, but you must respect them. 

#8. Field of Dreams (1989)
Talk about Daddy issues... This fantasy film about America's pastime tell us that reconciling the past is the key to the future.

Life Lessons:
1) Going against the grain is worthwhile in the end, 2) "If you build it, he will come" (or God helps those who help themselves, I guess), 3) Never force your kids to do something they enjoy until they hate it, 4) "Go the distance," and you will find what you seek, 5) Follow your inner voice, and 6) All any little boy really wants is to have a "catch" with his Dad.  

#9. Bull Durham (1988)
This love triangle between an up and coming pitcher, a small town school teacher and an aging catcher has a lot more to offer than just some classic cliches. It's a classic in every sense of the word, and its got life lessons at every turn (rounding the bases that is). 

Life Lessons: 
1) "Never Mess with a Streak," 2) Dating advice: "Lesson number one: don't think; it can only hurt the ball club," 3) "You (better) learn your cliches...," 4) The vagina is like the Bermuda Triangle, "a man could get lost in there and never be heard from again," 5) Never call an ump a "C@#&$*&^%#$," and 5) My personal favorite (as a reference to life in general): "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.""

#10. Major League (1989)
Take a team of ne'er-do-wells, put their backs up against the wall, let them loose and watch them fight their way to the playoffs...Wait a minute? Anyway, here's another sports classic that takes the bottom of the barrel and gives them their shot at glory. 

Life Lessons:  
1) When someone says you can't do something, prove 'em wrong, 2) Everyone gets a second chance, if they don't give up on their dreams, 3) There's never a bucket of sacrificial chicken around when you really need it, 4) "F@#k JoBoo" and do it yourself," and 5) Even the cool kids eventually have to wear glasses.

Happy Gilmore (1996) - Honorable Mention
What happens when you take the world's worst hockey player with the world's hardest slap shot and put a golf club in his hands? Here's your answer...

Life Lessons: 
1) Take your greatest strength and turn it in to an asset, 2) Be good to your Grandma, and 3) When in doubt, go to your happy place.

Rocky II: Voted Best Training Montage of all Time (click)


  1. I loved reading this! One other for honorable mention: Bad News Bears (original version, of course).

    And another lesson from Caddyshack, even if the heavy stuff is coming down, play on!

  2. Thanks Michael. I feel badly for having to leave out a few fan favorites (The Bad News Bears and Hoosiers to name a few), but I hope, like you, people will keep adding favorites I didn't list and the lessons we can learn from them. The more quotes you can remember, the better.

    Adam (Fodder 4 Fathers)

  3. In fact Montage from team america is the greatest montage (always fade out in a montage). I personally am a sucker for rocky 4 montage in siberia as he outruns the KGB.

  4. #9 is my all-time favorite movie and there are so many great lines and lessons in there. Don't forget to breathe through your eyelids like Fernando...

  5. Great choices you have there. Obviously, everyone is going to add a moive that you didn't, but Invincible is also a good one, not as good as Rudy, but almost the same message. Maybe I'm biased because I'm an Eagles fan, but great post nonetheless.