A few days ago, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. Each player on every team wore Robinson’s retired number 42 in honor of the baseball hero. This tribute sparked my thinking of other great American heroes. Hundreds of different people come to mind, George Washington, Lt. Winters, and Martin Luther King Jr. are just a few worth mentioning. This post is not about those well-documented heroes. This post is about one of the most important, unlikely, and unsung heroes of our time. Here are a few of his accolades:
1) Single handedly planned and carried out an assault on a POW camps in Vietnam, saving the lives of dozens of his brothers in arms from torture and possible starvation.
2) He is responsible for simultaneously ending the Cold War and destroying the Berlin Wall.
3) He saved the City of Los Angeles from destruction at the hands of Simon Phoenix.
500 years in the future, he will serve as Judge, Jury, and Executioner for your crimes.
This man is a model American. This man is Sylvester Stallone.
It is finally time to bring this post back to soccer by mentioning one of Stallone’s most forgotten services. The Italian Stallone beat the Nazi by saving a last minute penalty in a fantastic soccer film, Victory.
If you have not seen this movie, you need to. Besides being an excellent film, it really does have some great soccer scenes. Let me give you a brief rundown of the story. Allied officers and enlisted men are held captive as prisoners of war during WWII. For exercise and recreation, these men play soccer on the prison grounds. Propaganda officers for the Third Reich see this as an excellent opportunity to create some good German PR. As a publicity stunt, the dirty Nazi bastards, want a team of Allied POWs to play a soccer match against the German national squad in Occupied London. Eyeing this as an opportunity for an escape, the ranking Allied officer agrees to the match. Escape plans and training sessions follow until the actual day of the match. I don’t want to spoil the entire story, but one of the greatest sports film scenes every caught on camera takes place near the end.
One of the greatest things about this flick, besides the Nazis getting their asses kicked, is the cast. Other than Stallone, the cast includes such greats are Michael Caine and Max Von Sydow. However, these two are just the beginning. As this film revolves around the beautiful game, members of the Ipswich Town Football Club took part in all of the action sequences. Finally, we need to mention that arguably the greatest soccer player ever has a major role in the film. I am taking
about the high flying, flashy Brazilian, Pelé. The greatest player in the history of the sport kicks more ass in the movie than all the “Top Ten People I Want To Party With” combined.
The real intent of this post is to make people aware of this movie. It is one of my favorites, and I really encourage you to track it down. Honestly, I don’t think you can consider yourself a true soccer fan or Nazi hater if you don’t watch this masterpiece. It may be easier to find under the original or European title, Escape to Victory.
As for me, it’s time to get ready to actually head into the office. I’m still reeling from all the PBRs I pounded at this hot chick’s sorority formal. You should’ve seen me in my silk blazer and bright gold vest – absolutely fresh to death.
Puck is the pop culture guru for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.