There may never be a more touching description of Soccer's power to affect the masses. In the 1985 movie, Vision Quest, the late actor J.C. Quinn, playing Elmo-a blue-collar guy with friendly advice, gets the honor of handling some beautiful writing.
Vision Quest is a movie about a high-school wrestler, Louden Swain, who pursues a match with the state's best wrestler. In it, Quinn tells Mathew Modine's character, Louden Swain, about one of Pelé's fantastic goals.
The movie develops many characters while telling a story of persistence and eccentricity. Elmo's descriptions of the goal and how the crowd reacted are a reminder of why Soccer is referenced so often as the world's 'beautiful game.'
This part of the movie is Louden's wake-up call for that night's wrestling match against state champion, Brian Shute.
Louden was moping around, feeling sorry for himself after losing his girlfriend, when he stops by to visit with his co-worker, Elmo. They know each other from a big hotel, where Louden works part-time doing room service and Elmo is full-time as a cook.
Throughout the movie, Louden and Elmo talk about life and arm-wrestle each other. Elmo is a mentor to Louden.
The scene is heavy on emotion as Louden arrives to find Elmo prepping to attend Louden's match. Louden acts surprised Elmo made plans to see him wrestle; he thinks Elmo took the night off from work because he was sick.
This visit is just what Louden needs to get his mind right before the team's weigh-in. Louden tells Elmo that his match is just 6 minutes long and Elmo's response is to tell Louden that it's not just 6 minutes, it's what you do with those 6 minutes. He expresses his philosophy with a personal story involving Pelé.
Vision Quest is a top-notch movie and this scene is one of the best descriptions of how watching sports effects us.
Originally published August 2011