Sports are a large part of growing up. They help to create friendships, create teamwork opportunities, and give athletes a sense of responsibility. It gears competitive nature into something productive, whether it is beating the other team, or proving one's own capabilities. Over the years, Disney Channel Original Movies have covered various topics, from musicals to portraying the life of the average high school student. But, along the way, Disney Channel also placed a lot of emphasis on sports, and how sports fit into the main character's life. Many of the sports films highlighted a similar plot device, mostly discussing how the main character feels pressured into the storyline or activity the film designed, only to break out and stand up for themselves and their desires later.
While some of Disney Channel's sports movies were based on a true story, such as Double Teamed and Right On Track, the other films were still influenced by human stories, and how sports encouraged the best or worst of the individual to come to light. Disney Channel Original Movies could introduce new sports to kids that they may never have heard of before, and found a way to make it look exciting, and like anyone could learn if they really wanted to.
10 Go Figure (2005)
Katelin Kingsford always considered herself a figure skater. She had trained for years and looked forward to a future of being one of the best figure skaters in the world. When she gets the chance to attend school and be professionally trained by one of the best coaches available, she jumps at the chance, even though it means that joining the school means taking on an ice hockey scholarship.
Joining the ice hockey team is far more complicated than Katelin initially anticipated, and her experience in figure skating is a very different technique than how the team skates to win games. However, Go Figure, at its core, is about teamwork and friendship, as Katelin realizes that she can love being a part of a team and having friends just as much as she wants to be a figure skating champion.
9 Jump In! (2007)
Izzy Daniels loves boxing, but that does not mean he wants it to be his life. After his mother's death, boxing was all he and his father spoke about, and his father's desire for Izzy to become a professional boxer is the leading charge of Izzy's life, up until the moment he joins Mary's Double Dutch team. Jump In! is about far more than boxing or Double Dutch, as these activities pin Izzy against nearly everyone in his life.
Izzy's desire to jump rope brings him closer to new friends, but further from his father and those at the gym. Izzy's want to avoid embarrassment from his peers leads to him dropping Double Dutch to pursue boxing, which separates him from his friends. It is a story about discovering identity and figuring out what really makes someone happy.
8 Johnny Tsunami (1999)
When Johnny Kapahala moves from sunny Hawaii to snowy Vermont, he is forced to exchange his surfboard for a snowboard. Johnny's close relationship with his grandfather is based on their mutual love of surfing, and when Johnny is forced to an entirely new place, he latches onto one of the few things that feels familiar, a board. Becoming close friends with Sam, Johnny decides that one of the few things that will make him feel at home is if he can ride a snowboard.
7 Going to the Mat (2004)
Going to the Mat follows Jace Newfield, the new blind student in his school who wants to fit in among his peers. Jace's desire to fit in at school eventually leads him to the wrestling team. The movie shows Jace face adversity in his new environment. But, over time, his classmates come to accept and embrace him.
6 Brink! (1998)
Brink! follows a soul skating rollerblading friend group, with Andy "Brink" Brinker at the center. But, it is far more than a movie about a group of teenagers who enjoy rollerskating. When Brink realizes his family is on the cusp of financial struggles, he wants to help. There is only one way he knows how to, though, which has him join his group's rival rollerblading team, the X-Bladz. Brink is faced with questions of friendship and loyalty versus the money he can gain from being on the team. Brink! shows various inline skating tricks throughout the film, especially when it comes to the final races.
5 Right on Track (2003)
Erica and Courtney Enders are involved in the fast-paced world of junior drag racing. Based on a true story, this movie dives into the story of two girls who came out on top in what is traditionally a men's sport. Right on Track addresses the concerns of having a sport be at the center of Erica and Courtney's lives as Erica questions if she wants a real social life.
4 Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006)
Martial arts is a sport, and Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior embraces the art and perfectly mixes it with teenage drama, conflict, and comedy. It is a film that blends cultures to discuss Wendy's experience as an American teenager struggling to accept the roots of her Chinese heritage and ancestry. Her direct link to her family's history comes through Shen's visit, as he works to train Wendy for an upcoming battle against Yan-Lo.
Unfortunately, the timing of the battle means that Wendy would have to miss the Homecoming dance, which is particularly important, considering she is running for Homecoming Queen. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior illustrates a story of coming into identity, and how learning martial arts connected Wendy to her heritage and how she realizes what she is capable of.
3 Gotta Kick It Up! (2002)
Based on a true story, Gotta Kick It Up! follows the journey of a teacher, Ms. Bartlett, finding and teaching a ragtag group of girls to dance. Along the way, Ms. Bartlett constantly butts heads with Daisy, the movie's protagonist. The group of girls on the dance team work together to become a unit while striving to participate in the competition.
2 Motocrossed (2001)
Andrea Carson loves motocross just as much, if not more, than her brother, Andrew. Yet, their father's overprotective behavior, which prevents Andrea from racing, leaves her left out. When Andrew gets hurt, their father brings in another male motocross race to work for their family following financial instability. Andrea later joins the races, and while she initially does not anticipate the competition, ends up coming out on top when it matters. Motocrossed calls out the double standard of girls versus boys, showing that Andrea is just as capable of racing, and loving motocross, as Andrew.
1 Double Teamed (2002)
Based on a true story, identical twins Heather and Heidi Burge originally moved schools to be noticed for scholarships by playing volleyball. However, not long after arriving at the school, Heidi and Heather end up falling into joining the girls' basketball team, unintentionally starting strife with the team's lead player Nicky. But, teamwork and friendship prevail, as the Burge siblings end up moving beyond high school basketball to the WNBA.