“Moneyball” exemplifies realistic love challenges of athletics

In honor of this year’s Academy Awards show, it is only appropriate to discuss the Oscar nominated baseball film “Moneyball.” Beyond the best actor nominee Brad Pitt and best supporting actor nominee Jonah Hill’s captivating performances, I think the movie does an amazing job in portraying the real-life struggles of athletes in professional sports.

Showing the success opportunities a few individuals can gain, “Moneyball” especially highlights the challenges most face on a daily basis. From a disappointing, too young recruit; to an injured player with a dependent family; to the unstable life of a manager, audiences get a glimpse of the fears and challenges of the seemingly “lucky” athletes and coaches fans rarely see off the diamond. It is this realistic depiction, which is so often untold, that strikes a cord in the hearts of sports enthusiasts and simple moviegoers, alike.

I appreciated the honesty revealed about recruiting tactics, trading deals and manager-player relationships. “Moneyball” proves that the sporting world is far from the sexy lifestyle our media often portrays. If nothing else, it makes one consider all of the elements and people behind senses that make the game of baseball our All-American pastime.

Love can hardly describe the emotional feeling people have toward the game of baseball. Time, money, dedication and enthusiasm are all encompassing factors that are sacrificed for this sport. “Moneyball” stresses the devotion given to every practice and every game that every player and every coach gives, regardless of their reward. More importantly, it exposes the lack of reward many individuals deal with in order to pursue their passion.

Time and time again, I have seen talented players think they will be the exception to the difficult life of professional athletics. Somewhere along the way, they become convinced that their strength, speed, determination or ability will carry them through the pressures and uncertainties. Time and time again, they do not succeed and end up playing for the minor league, living paycheck to paycheck and living on the hope that next season they will be healthy enough to make their “big break.”

Do we blame the media for glamorizing a few success stories? Should we point fingers at the recruiters who stroke egos, yet do not offer the realistic cons? My greatest applause for “Moneyball” is attributed to its ability to balance the story of exposing the defeats that can be expected in any career (especially athletics), while telling the tale of an underdog overcoming the unexpected—or several underdogs in this film, including general manager Billy Bean, catcher Scott Hatteberg and economist Peter Brand. From the time of David and Goliath, it has been human nature to root for the underdog, celebrate the wins and live on the hope that success will continue tomorrow. The simple sport of baseball is no exception.

The movie’s repeated line, “You can’t not feel romantic about baseball,” is exemplified in each of the characters’ relationship with the sport that has shaped their past, defines their present and will determine their future. The losses each player of the game experience only make the wins that much sweeter. “Moneyball” illustrates the power of love, and the sacrifices people make for the love of sport.

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