The plot of nearly every sports movie ever. There's a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
who all have weird idiosyncratic tendencies and no idea of how to work together. But then a magical, lifesaving coach appears and teaches them the value of friendship, teamwork, and how to use their weird neuroses to win the Big Game
. The Big Game
is usually played against their rivals, the Opposing Sports Team
- super intelligent, rich, well-trained aristocrats who are 100 times better in every way. However, it doesn't actually matter if the misfits win or lose. If they win the championship, it's obviously great, but if they lose, they still learned the Power of Friendship
And, just in case, there Ain't No Rule
against animals helping out.
See also Team Spirit
. For the classroom version, see Save Our Students
- A League of Their Own
- Angels in the Outfield
- The Bad News Bears: While this is the basic premise, the movie avoids all the usual trappings. The coach is a disinterested drunk, the players still hate each other in the end, they only win because of a pair of ringers, and they lose the championship to the juggernaut Yankees.
- Big Green
- Cool Runnings
"I remember. They came last at the Olympics and then retired to promote alcoholic beverages."
"A true inspiration for the children."
- Speaking of Futurama, "A Leela of their Own" is partially a parody of Major League — the twist being that the down-and-out Mets aren't even trying to win games anymore, only hiring Leela as a publicity stunt to drive up attendance.
- Grid Iron Gang
- Little Giants, though they didn't stay for the whole movie
- The Mighty Ducks
- Sunset Park
- Remember the Titans
- We Are Marshall: The most literal use of the trope, since it's about the aftermath of almost the entire team getting killed.
- Major League (first and third movies; the second was a depiction of the season after a Save Our Team plot)
- Ladybugs also has a sort of subversion: The company soccer team Rodney Dangerfield has been tasked to coach has already won last season's championship, but Rodney finds that the team members have been almost completely replaced (with just one holdover from last season).
- In a rare sci-fi version, Enderís Game, with Dragon Army.
- Particularly unusual because the protagonist was the coach.
- Another sci-fi variation is the opening episode of Star Trek: Voyager, complete with the Rousing Speech from Captain Janeway assuring her banged-up crew and the newly added ex-convicts that they will put aside their differences and that together they'll find a way home.
- This trope was parodied within an inch of its life by (who else) South Park, in the episode "Stanley's Cup."
- Also parodied in Excel♥Saga with idiotic coaches and a star pitcher who beans everyone.
- Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story parodies this trope though still plays it mostly straight.
- The Replacements, except less teamwork and friendship and more cheap shots and balls.
- Played more-or-less straight when Mr Nutt becomes the UU's football coach in Unseen Academicals.
- Glee. Despite being a show choir rather than a sports team, all the makings of this trope are in place.
- Giant Killing
- Eyeshield 21 is this at its core, but subverts a lot of the "wholesomeness" associated with this trope. The "magical coach" in this case is the trigger happy, scheming captain of the football team who puts them through merciless training from hell, most notably making them run from Houston, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada WHILE pushing a truck (and shooting at them) in the course of a month. Three of the members were originally blackmailed into the team because the captain, Hiruma, beat them up, stripped them naked, and threatened to leak the picture.
- On the surface their rivals, the Ojou White Knights, seem like the typical "privileged rich kids" opposing sports team, going to a private school with a prestigious football background where no expense is spared for the players (their training camps are in a friggin' castle in Germany that the school owns, for Pete's sake). On the other hand, they also show the stress of having to live up to such a reputation and that the White Knight's training is every bit as grueling as the Devilbats. Not to mention both teams have a great deal of friendship and respect for the other, despite being as different as can be.
- Also parodied during Mizumachi's flashback to how he came to join the Kyoshin Poseidons. He was originally tricked into joining the swimming team by the captain telling Mizumachi the club would be shut down if they didn't win a swim meet.
- The Devilbats Evil Counterpart, the Hakushuu Dinosaurs are a dark take on the trope. Team captain Marco improves the team all right—by letting Gaou off of his leash, turning Kisiragi into a Psycho Supporter, and advocating Unnecessary Roughness.
- Rookies plays with this. The team originally doesn't even want to play baseball, and the "magical coach" Kawato doesn't even know that much about baseball.
- The oneshot manga Portball! sees a girls' portball (which is a lot like basketball) team threatened with dissolution if they can't win an exhibition game against the boys' team. Long story short the entire team (such as it was - only three members, which isn't enough to actually field a regulation team) is expelled for various acts of indecency and/or violence committed during the game
- Semi Pro is about the Flint Tropics, a bad ABA team trying to win enough games and attract enough fans to be one of the four teams that goes to the NBA after the companies merge. The team's owner/power forward is the best promoter in the league, and the "magical coach" is a player - a former benchwarmer for the Boston Celtics with a championship ring. They do it, sort of: the Tropics get to fourth place, but don't go to the NBA because Flint is too small a market.
- Real Life example: ''Outcasts United'' by Warren St. John is the story of a bunch of refugees who ended up living in Clarkston, Georgia(a small suburb of Atlanta), which became a resettlement center for refugees from war zones in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. These kids eventually start a soccer team, the Fugees, with the help of Luma Mufleh, an American educated Jordanian woman.
- Glory Road
- Major Payne, though it replaces sports with military games and the magical coach with the eponymous Ax-Crazy Badass Drill Major Nasty.
- Subverted in Avi's SOR Losers. A group of unathletic high school kids are turned into a soccer team and come together and support each other in their realization that...they do suck at sports and that's fine; they have other interests.