The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Q&A with Glen Macnow

The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Q&A with Glen Macnow

People tend to love lists. But the thing with lists is that too often people use them as a crutch and hastily throw together their "Best [insert anything under the sun] of the decade" without much time, effort or thought put in to it. Lists are just like anything else, if they're done right, they can be both highly entertaining and tremendously useful.

Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow's "The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time"
is done right. It obviously lists what they've decided are the best sports movies of all time, but it's the interviews and quotes with the people who were actually involved in making the movie that makes this a good read. It's the scratching beneath the surface that makes their book so enjoyable.

We had the chance to ask Glen Macnow a few questions about the book.

Enrico: The book is clearly more than just one
long list. The mini interviews with athletes, actors, and celebrities
are some of the most entertaining parts of the book. What was the most
fun aspect about doing a book like this?

Glen: Going back and seeing movies that I've seen a dozen times or more and studying both the movie, the history of the movie, and talking to people in the movie and learning things about the movie that I never knew. That was the most fun.

Moments in the book where you tell of classic scenes or throw in
a money quote almost transport you back into the movie, where reading
the book is a similar escape to sitting in a movie theater. Was that
something you were aiming for or something that just happened along the
way?

I don't know if it was something we were aiming for but we really wanted to give people more than just a list and we really wanted to give people something that was more than just a recapitulation of the script. We wanted to take works of art that we know people love and really give you stuff that is interesting and fun and different about them that you didn't know. If it allows you to get caught up in it in a way that you felt like you were watching a movie then that's great, then it worked.

If Rocky would have won against Creed in their first bout, does it even crack the top ten?

That's an interesting question because the whole point of Rocky is that he doesn't win -- except that he does. If he wins the fight, in many ways it becomes just another movie. So the beauty of it was in the ending. No, had he won the fight it wouldn't have been Rocky, it wouldn't have been the movie, it wouldn't have been half as good.

I
wasn't totally in agreement with your inclusion of a few quasi-sports
movies. Are chess and poker really a sport whereas the incredible
bowling skills of Donnie and The Dude are overlooked?

Well, the Big Lebowski wasn't really about bowling. I love the Big Lebowski but it was about guys that happen to get together and bowl. There is a chapter on sports scenes in non-sports movies. We went with poker with the criteria that if ESPN airs it and sports pages cover it, we'd consider it.

Finally, best sports movie that didn't make the book, The Cutting Edge?

[Laughs] Yeah right. Actually we did mention The Cutting Edge in the book in the "sports date movies" section. I can tell you the last movie in and what it knocked out. The last movie in was number 55, called Sugar, about Dominican baseball players that don't become the stars. It knocked out Ali with Will Smith which we had in the last spot. It was ultimately a disappointing movie but there was enough about it that we liked.

You can pick up a copy at your local book store or order it on Amazon here: The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time

Kris Jenkins shared video of Villanova doing Running Man Challenge at White House

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Kris Jenkins shared video of Villanova doing Running Man Challenge at White House

Tony Hawk has skateboarded at the White House. Women's lacrosse champions have worn fliflops at the White House.

Now, the Villanova Wildcats have done the Running Man Challenge at the White House.

The video was shared on Kris Jenkins' Instagram account this afternoon. They don't call him "Big Smooth" for nothing.

Officially ending this Runningman challenge. Presidential edition. #GameBlouses #NovaSzn

A video posted by Kris Jenkins (@bigsmoove2) on

In case you missed it earlier, President Obama welcomed the 2016 NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats to his crib and called Jay Wright the, "George Clooney of coaches." He's not wrong.

Despite rocky offseason, Eagles QBs have "a really good relationship"

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Despite rocky offseason, Eagles QBs have "a really good relationship"

Sam Bradford says Carson Wentz is a great kid. Carson Wentz says his relationship with Sam Bradford is special.

So much for them hating each other.

Bradford and Wentz both spoke glowingly of each other Tuesday after an OTA practice at the NovaCare Complex.

And both spoke equally highly of Chase Daniel, the Eagles’ other quarterback.

Turns out they all like each other.

Boring? Yeah. Drama? No. But they all say that’s the reality.

“They’re great dudes,” Bradford said. “We have a really good room. Having Chase in the room for me and Carson has been great because he’s been in the system for what, three? This is his fourth year in the system? So he understands some of the smaller details.

“Like when we watch tape, he’s able to point out, ‘Hey, this play looks like this against this coverage,’ or, ‘You can short-cut this read and (throw) here a little quicker against this coverage.’ So I think having him in the room with me and Carson has been really good.

“Carson, he’s been great. He’s a great kid, he’s really talented. It’s been fun working with him, trying to help him, trying to just share bits of information that I’ve picked up.”

It was the Eagles’ decision to trade up to No. 2 in the draft and take Wentz that led Bradford to leave voluntary practices for two weeks and demand a trade.

It wasn’t until he returned earlier this month that he even met Wentz, the former North Dakota State star.

But Wentz said there’s been no tension between the two. The opposite has been the case.

“It’s been great working with Sam, working with Chase,” Wentz said. “We’ve got an awesome quarterback room. A lot of really good discussions about the play book, about life. It’s been great.

“And then on the practice field, it’s been great for me. We all have a really good relationship. Nothing but great things to say about those guys.”

Head coach Doug Pederson has maintained that Bradford is the starter going into the regular season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said there’s open competition.

Whatever happens in September, it’s only a matter of time until this is Wentz’s team.

But Daniel said so far everybody is handling a tricky situation just fine.

“You know what, business is business,” Daniel said Tuesday. “Like I’ve said before, everyone handles (those situations) a little bit differently. For me, there’s no awkwardness. I know I’ve talked to Sam, there’s no (awkwardness).

“It’s you check your ego at the door, it’s time to go to work. Let’s go to work.”

If there are any hard feelings, these three quarterbacks are certainly hiding them very well.

“The relationship we have with us three is huge,” Wentz said. “We’re not out there to get each other, we’re out there to make the team better. (That) not only uplifts the team but makes us individually better.

“Being able to work together and not have to worry and stress out about the other stuff. At the end of the day makes the team better.”

Bradford is the incumbent starter. Daniel is the most experienced in Pederson’s offense. Wentz is the hot-shot rookie.

It’s a better story if they hate each other. But so far at least, they seem to be getting along just great.

“For me and the rest of the quarterbacks, we view every day as an opportunity to get better,” Wentz said.

“We have a little friendly competition among ourselves to make us better. If we’re all pushing each other, working together, it only makes the team better, and I think that’s something we have going on here that’s really special.”

President Obama praises Villanova at the renamed 'Blue and White House'

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AP Photo

President Obama praises Villanova at the renamed 'Blue and White House'

Villanova’s memorable victory tour continued Tuesday as noted basketball fan and President of the United States Barack Obama welcomed the Wildcats to the White House -- or, as he called it, “the Blue and White House today.” 

You should definitely watch the whole video but here are some highlights from the very cool ceremony: 

  • Obama said that Vice President Joe Biden, whose wife Jill Biden got a Master’s degree from Villanova, picked the Wildcats to win it all. “That’s the type of wise counsel you’re looking for in a vice president. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the counsel so my bracket was busted,” said Obama, who picked Kansas to win it all and didn’t even have ’Nova in the Final Four.
  • Obama called Jay Wright the “George Clooney of coaches” and “the best dressed man in college basketball.” We’ve reached out to George Clooney’s reps for comment (no we haven’t).
  • He pointed out that leading scorer Josh Hart went to the same high school -- Sidwell Friends -- as his daughter Malia, who will graduate from there next week. “It’s good to see a Sidwell kid do well.”
  • It was fun to hear the president call Daniel Ochefu and Kris Jenkins by their nicknames -- “The Chef” and “Big Smooth,” respectively.
  • He purposefully sped through Ryan Arcidiacono’s name “in case I didn’t say it right” -- and he didn’t. “I’m just gonna call him Arch,” Obama said, learning an important lesson for Villanova fans, college basketball writers and world leaders everywhere.
  • Was that a Charles Barkley weight joke? After comparing Kris Jenkins’ famous game-winner to Christian Laettner’s shot vs. Kentucky in 1992 and N.C. State’s buzzer-beater in the 1983 title game, Obama said “Charles Barkley apparently jumped out of his seat, which he doesn’t do very often these days.”
  • He praised Villanova’s off-court achievements, including the fact that they ranked in the top 10 percent nationally in grades and all five seniors graduated (continuing a trend of every four-year Villanova player graduating since the 1970s). And he discussed how Ochefu and Arcidiacono surprised a young ’Nova fan with cancer by hiding in his playhouse -- “which seems a little scary but their hearts were in the right place.”
  • He didn’t hold back about the epic ending to the NCAA tourney, calling it “as memorable of a championship game as I can remember” and “maybe the best title game of all time,” before adding that “just the last few seconds could be a documentary.” 

After Obama’s remarks -- good job, speechwriters! -- Wright took his turn at the podium to present the president with a Villanova jersey from their game at Pearl Harbor last December and to thank him for his leadership.

“Nothing is as big as this,” Wright said. “This is big time. This is a great day for Villanova University.”

Well said, Coach Clooney.