“The Natural” is one of my favorite sports movies and is also full of inspiration. Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, is a middle aged baseball player who is looking to get a second chance at stardom. As a youngster, he showed tremendous talent and carved his own special bat from a tree struck by lightning.
In his late teens, Roy heads off to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs. On the way to Chicago, he meets the top hitter in the major league and strikes him out with three pitches. This catches the attention of an alluring, but mad, woman who seduces him. She has an obsession to shoot the greatest baseball player (who she believes Hobbs to be) so she shoots Hobbs in the side, ending his chances of joining the major league.
Sixteen years later, Hobbs finally has a chance to play in the majors. Hobbs faces a number of obstacles as a player which he slowly overcomes. His manager is unimpressed with him and at first won’t even allow him to take batting practice. Hobbs persistence leads to a chance to take batting practice where does well, prompt him to play in an actual game.
At Hobbs’ first at bat, he literally knocks the cover off the ball causing it to unwind into string. He quickly rises to stardom but this causes a problem with the team owner who is hoping the team finishes poorly so he can acquire full ownership. The owner bribes Hobbs into playing poorly, causing other events to manifest which create greater personal challenges.
In the climax of the movie, Hobbs is at bat. He had struck out a few times earlier in the night his gunshot wound from sixteen years ago has begun to bleed – the blood showing though on his uniform. Hobbs takes a big swing that goes foul and also breaks the bat he created as youngster. In one of the famous lines of the movie he asks the bat boy, a young man reminiscent of Hobbs as a youngster, to “pick me out a winner, Bobby.” The boy gives Hobbs his own bat, one that he carved himself and Hobbs hits a homerun smashing the stadium lights in a dramatic sequence. Here’s the video:
This movie is full of inspiration and is a must watch for sports fans.