One of the first sports stories I can remember that grabbed my attention was the story of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo in the heartbreaking made-for-TV movie “Brian’s Song.”

We were living in Brazil at the time, so we didn’t get to see the movie as it aired for the first time, but several months later we were able to watch the movie as part of a tape of movies, TV shows, and NFL Films that we got periodically from the local commissary.


The movie played as an “ABC Movie of The Week” and showed the developing friendship of the two star running backs for the Chicago Bears at a time when racial segregation in sports was still present in the locker room.

Piccolo was the nation’s leading rusher in his senior year at Wake Forest, yet went undrafted in the NFL Draft. Although the Bears signed him as a free agent, Piccolo was placed on the practice squad while Sayers, the Bears’ fourth-round pick, went on to become the Rookie of the Year.

At the urging of Bears executive Ed McCaskey, Sayers and Piccolo jumped at the opportunity to become the NFL’s first interracial roommates and became fast friends. The story ends in tragedy as Piccolo dies after an eight month battle with cancer at the young age of 26 and Sayers, accepting the NFL’s Most Courageous Player award, on behalf of his good friend.

In high school and college, “Rocky” and the follow-up “Rocky II,” the story of Rocky Balboa, a down-on-his-luck “professional” boxer from the hard streets of Philadelphia who makes the most out of his big shot at the championship belt, exploded on the scene and motivated us all to train as hard as Rocky did.

We blasted the title songs in our dorm rooms and played them through our Walkman during our workouts. Some even went so far as to chug a glass full of raw eggs and took up boxing classes at the local YMCA.

A few years back, as we were making a strong run for the regional title in boys soccer, we turned to movies to motivate us as we prepared and then executed a game plan for our formidable opponents.

We chose “Miracle,” the movie about the 1980 gold-medal winning U.S. men’s hockey team, and their hard-driving coach and the players’ incredible will to win, to get us by Urbana — arguably the best team in the state that year — and then “Lone Survivor,” a movie about a mission gone wrong in Afghanistan in 2005 and one soldier’s fight to stay alive and tell the story, to take on eventual state champion Oakdale in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss with 20 seconds to play.

Did those movies make us beat Urbana or give Oakdale all they can handle?

They weren’t solely responsible, but they surely played a major part in the success.

Our boys entered both games with a focus we hadn’t seen all year.

Movies have a way of moving our emotions and sports movies are some of the most captivating. There are so many great motivational sport movies to choose from and still many more stories that have yet to make it to the big screen or as a “Movie of the Week.”

You don’t have to look too far to find great examples of human interest stories that could make it to the big screen. In fact, we have our own movie-worthy story unfolding right here in our community. Westminster High School graduate and weightlifter extraordinaire Miles Taylor, who works out at the local gym, Neversate, has set the social media world on fire with his extraordinary feats of strength.

Taylor, who was born with cerebral palsy, refuses to let it define who he is and what he can accomplish. Despite many who would tell him he shouldn’t do this or try that, his close circle of friends and family and a passionate trainer encourage Miles to write his story from his own point of view.

Taylor captured the nation’s attention through social media when his personal best deadlift — a weight more than twice the amount of his body weight — was put on social media and then went viral. What happened next made Miles a national celebrity and drew the attention of many celebrities, including Mr. World himself — Arnold Schwarzenegger, who invited Taylor and his trainer to compete in the Arnold Weightlifting Championships where he recreated his personal best deadlift.


In addition to his incredible physical accomplishment, Miles lights the world up with his infectious smile and his friendly personality. No less than Superman actor Christopher Reeve, who suffered through physical limitations said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

I don’t know of anyone more fitting of that description than our own Miles Taylor who sets out every day to take the “dis” out of “disability.” It’s time for Hollywood to come calling.