In the lead-up to the 1956 Olympic games, a group of missionaries is tasked with helping the fledgling Australian basketball team compete in their first ever Olympics, and in doing so, unite a nation still coming to grips after the war.
**This review is contributed by Super Channel—a channel dedicated to providing integrity and accountability in today’s entertainment.
Because this film is based on a true historical event, it is interesting to learn how the Mormon Yankees exhibition team came together and became so popular and loved by the Australian people. By using their exceptional training skills, good will, exemplary sportsmanship, and determination, the Mormon Yankees boosted the first Australian Olympic team into the 1956 Olympics with hope they did not have, while also fulfilling their own difficult mission.
Basketball player Delyle Condie announces he’s just proposed to Emily and she said YES! Mom and Dad are so happy for him. Emily is off to California to help her sister with the kids. He is shocked when Emily returns and outrightly says, “I can’t marry you” with no explanation…as she walks away with another man. He is heartbroken. Basketball training camp starts in a couple of weeks…Dad advises, “…use your sad feelings to make you a better person…I know you will choose the right path.” Delyle shocks his coach when he resigns from the team to serve a mission for his Church, “it’s the right time in his life…” Coach says you will never play basketball again. Condie’s mind is made up. His mission’s destination? Melbourne, Australia!
It’s 1956…the Olympics are coming to Australia…Melbourne is gripped with Olympic fever! Condie is met by a group of elders who insist on making a detour…it’s basketball game night…they are a man short, he’s asked to play. Coach Watson of the Australian Basketball team is watching. Condie is outstanding.
A full day of getting doors slammed in their faces, sprayed with water hoses, and pelted with tomatoes… No one wants to listen, no one believes in their message of faith. They are exhausted… one more house on the block. It’s Coach Ken Watson’s house and he recognizes Elder Condie as that star basketball player….would they consider working with the Aussie team on technique and pointers?
Elder Condie immediately sees the bigger picture and how basketball can be used to reach the people by establishing a common ground, and asks for his dad’s help who goes directly to Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City and gets the approval his son needs.
Exhibition tournaments are happening. The Mormon Yankees team is excelling. People are opening up to the Elders and basketball is becoming the common ground for dialogue. The French Olympic team, one of the best in the world, suffers a humiliating loss of 62-60 to “that religious bunch”!
It’s rematch day … on ABC TV … The US national anthem is playing, the crowd is cheering wildly! Elder Condie says, these people who shunned us and slammed doors in our faces, are here cheering for us! The French team is fierce but the Mormon Yankees demonstrate their faith and their relentless spirit, and in turn, open doors and hearts. This has become SO much more than just a game …
The Dove Take:
Spirit of the Game is an inspiring, uplifting biographical sports film emphasizing how an entire nation can be swept off its feet by a small group of young men through genuine goodwill, kindness, and exemplary sportsmanship … and provides the perfect setting in which to learn about a meaningful historical event.