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'42' is a great movie both for sports and for history

May 3, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The movie "42" captured my heart in more ways than one on Thursday night.

After trying to get my wife to attend the sports movie with me for almost two weeks, she caved in and we decided the early show Thursday was the time.

I was a little surprised that there were less than 10 people at the movie, but it has been a big hit across the country. It has been in Riverton already for two weeks.

The night turned out to be a perfect history lesson for me on baseball. I have never been much into history, and so I learned a great deal from "42."

I knew the basics about Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line.

I just didn't know how much Robinson had to deal with on and off the field to get on to the diamond and into a big league uniform.

The off-the-field things were more than I had imagined.

Most of the credit has to go to Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey for taking a gamble with Robinson.

Rickey knew Robinson was the right man for the job. He did his homework on the players. He studied it out, and he wanted to make sure he was part of history -- not to mention having a pretty good baseball team in the process.

He had complete faith that Robinson could handle the crazy fans, players and even managers that opposed Robinson during his career on the field.

There were a couple of parts in the movie that I became a little emotional. The first one was when a pitcher hit Robinson in the head during an at-bat.

Robinson stood up and walked off the field and away from the crowd while the two teams squared off against each other in a brawl on the diamond.

The scene showed that his teammates were starting to back Robinson when it seemed like everybody was against him.

Robinson was told by Rickey that his team needed him and baseball needed him. Robinson didn't hesitate and went back into the game. Time and time again, Robinson showed he had guts.

Robinson is played by Chadwick Boseman, and Rickey is played by Harrison Ford. Those two were clearly the right men for the film.

Another scene I liked was when Brooklyn shortstop Pee Wee Reese came into see the owner to tell him about a nasty letter that came from a fan.

Rickey took out stacks and stacks of letters to show Reese what he had been going through ever since Robinson was in the spotlight with the media.

Robinson earned the right for MLB to honor him every year all the players wear No. 42 for a day in April.

I can see why that day is so special to pro baseball players. It has a new meaning for me as well.

As we were heading home from the movies, my wife turned to me and said they need to make more movies like "42."

She was right on.

If I was passing out grades, I would give it an A. It has just a little bit of everything. It a great history lesson if you are a Little League baseball player.

"42" was made for me to be a big fan anyway. I can't remember the last sports movie I didn't like.

If you are a baseball fan, then "42" is a must for you. Even if you only follow sports just a little bit, "42" will have a special place for you.

"42" is to good to pass up.

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