Sunday, April 09, 2006

Murderball: The most badass sport played while seated

I had heard really good things about Murderball but this documentary exceeded my expectations. I thought there might be some boo-hooing from some of the individuals portrayed in this movie but it turned out to be completely devoid of self pity. Murderball was SO good I just have to tell everyone.

The story centers on a segment of the United States Quadriplegic Rugby Team, the game typically called Quad Rugby. If able bodied rugby is considered a rough sport (no helmets, no pads) then you should check out Quad Rugby. Each player is assigned a number of points based on their physical ability and there can be no more than 8 points total on the court at one time. The game is played on a basketball court with players using Mad Max style reinforced wheelchairs. Those things rock!

We learned how the players came to be disabled and their stories were chilling. But instead of making us feel sorry for them we see how these guys continued to find purpose in their lives. The movie also gives us a close look at a newly disabled person, Keith, who was injured a little less than a year prior to the time of the film. But even Keith was stoic, working hard at rehab and showing interest in his future. For example, he asks his doctor about what he should expect when having sex - how will that work? That leads to a eye-popping informative video (serious stuff) on how a quadriplegic male might engage in sexual relations. I needed to fan myself afterwards.

A great part of the story centered on the rivalry between the United States and Canadian teams, specifically between player Mark Zupan and the Canadian Coach Joe Soares. The backstory is that Joe was a player for the U.S., was cut when past his prime, and then burned his bridges. Exchanges between the two teams is colorful and builds excitement for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. The filmmakers included coverage from the actual Paralympic Games that was so cool looking I plan on catching the games in 2008.

Murderball was so compelling I watched it twice. I even indulged in some of the extras offered on the dvd. One of the deleted scenes "Frogs" showcased Joe's sister's frog collection at her home in Providence, RI. Anyone who has an eccentric relative will find this scene hysterical. For all of it's hard hits I found Murderball's central themes to be strength, teamwork, mental fortitude, love and family. It told a terrific story.

1 comment:

Ramona said...

Murderball was my film of the year 2005 - saw it at last years film fest -so hardcore.