Aging Koreans need more good sports moviesAs our biological clock ticks down, we feel the symptoms of age. One is a fondness for watching games on TV rather than being there in person. For me, the occasional pick-up game at the gym or weekend tackle football have become a distant memory. Instead, I exercise my eyes. From watching hours of sports on the tube to playing sports video games or joining a fantasy league as ridiculous as “bass fantasy fishing,” the least-strenuous sports have become a major passion.
The downside of all this? Probably a tan from too much exposure to TV-monitor rays and a sore thumb.
But what about sports movies? That seems to be one area in which the Korean industry has fallen behind. There are classics like the U.S.-made “Rudy” that do a good job of capturing the human drama and emotion involved in playing a game one loves. Every year in the United States, there are a fair share of feel-good sports movies. Sports movies don’t lead to more Bally’s memberships, but they remind people of the things that make life interesting and give it meaning.
As far as I can remember, Korea has made very few good sports stories. They include “Superstar Gam Sa-yong,” a real-life story about an office worker who became a professional baseball player and “Malaton,” a story about a disabled boy who found comfort in running a marathon.
This year, there are many movies being made in Korea but none are sports movies.
In the past, a sports movie was made only every couple of years. For a country in which soccer games take on national proportions and any international competition is played along the lines of “us versus them,” this is strange.
The video game industry loves sports because there is money to make, but there is a limit to how many customers they can attract. It’s the same with watching sports on TV. Some people get excited over watching a curling game. Nevertheless, a movie has no such boundaries. If the story is good anyone can be inspired.
Would the story of the South Korean national soccer team that flew from country to country in 1954 to play in its first World Cup because there were no direct flights to Switzerland be a good one? Absolutely. Because the journey itself is already a story.
by Brian Lee
More in Features
In the homoerotic world of K-pop fan fiction, how far is too far?
Sculptor Joo Hoo-sik finds inspiration in the Year of the Cow
Nothing's fair in love and Covid
Top culture stories of the year
[ZOOM KOREA] The pipe organ master with plans for a uniquely Korean instrument