Movies to inspire your school spirit

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Whether you’re actually a football fan or just care about the game for the energy and game-day parties, we all know that one of the biggest things that school sports does is bring people together. If you’re bogged down with midterms and homework, or just aren’t feeling any Cal spirit this semester, here are some of our favorite movies that will show you how school is greater than just classes. At the end of the day, there’s so much more to appreciate and root for as students than we sometimes realize.

“The Breakfast Club”

If you haven’t seen the movie and are wondering why it’s on the list, then no, “The Breakfast Club” isn’t actually about breakfast, but is instead about five high school students in detention. The movie is interesting because it puts together students from completely different backgrounds who have nothing in common and forces them to recognize their similarities. It’s a great watch if you’re feeling overwhelmed or lonely. It shows you that there’s more to people than meets the eye, and there’s always hope to find your niche in school.

“High School Musical”

While “The Breakfast Club” can teach you a lot about the complexities of people and groups in schools, “High School Musical” is a more outward display of — maybe slightly obnoxious — school spirit. East High, the school in the movie, revolves around the basketball team. The school breaks into perfectly coordinated song every time a basketball player breathes, and if you really want a taste of overwhelming school spirit, all three installments of the “High School Musical” series are perfect for you. Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), who owns the spotlight in the trilogy, graduates from East High and chooses to go to our very own UC Berkeley, so if you think we don’t have enough school spirit, feel free to break into a performance of the soundtrack on Sproul Plaza. If Troy could do it in the movie, you can, too.

“School of Rock”

There are no sports in this movie, and this is definitely not a college film, but “School of Rock” is a great reminder that school isn’t all work and no play, and it’s possible to have a bit of fun. In the movie, Dewey Finn (Jack Black) poses as a substitute teacher at a preppy elementary school and makes his class of fourth-graders compete in a “Battle of the Bands” competition instead of doing any actual schoolwork. But besides the jokes and laughter that this movie brings, it shows us how effective team projects can be. The students work together successfully, depending on each other and developing confidence in their work. The next time your professor assigns the class a group project, take a cue from the movie and embrace it. There’s so much more to college than textbook learning, and you’ll feel camaraderie and school spirit when you begin collaborating with other students.

“Hoop Dreams”

This documentary gives you a view into the world of student-athletes. While many of us just watch college sports as entertainment, this documentary reminds us of another important factor that we tend to forget as spectators: that the players we are watching are real people with their own sets of struggles, and we should be rooting for them because they’re working hard to get our school a win. As you watch the “Hoops Dreams” players’ journeys unfold this homecoming weekend — through injuries, financial struggles and other hurdles — you’ll come to appreciate student-athletes and school spirit a lot more.

Contact Mahira Dayal at [email protected].