The Mighty Ducks youth-hockey franchise is back with a new look and a new direction. Emilio Estevez returns as star player Gordon Bombay, a role he originated 29 years ago.
After 25 years of being out of the spotlight and losing his interest in acting, Estevez said, “It’s interesting to come back now using ‘The Mighty Ducks’ as a reentry vehicle.”
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers has a different spin on youth competition and gives parents and kids a change of pace from the hard-core winning-is-everything approach to life and sports.
Lauren Graham plays Alex, a stressed-out paralegal with a 12-year-old son, Evan (Brady Noon). In Minnesota, where hockey is king and the Mighty Ducks rule, all the kids want to be on the team. But Evan is cut. So, Alex, in her motherly way, plus plenty of spunk, delivers a diatribe about letting kids be kids and enjoy their lives instead of pushing them and berating them for not being perfect.
She decides to start a new team where the emphasis is on having fun. After all, you’re only young once. They put together a ragtag team and rent out a dilapidated rink owned and run by, you guessed it, Gordon Bombay.
He refuses to have any part of the new team, which Alex named the “Don’t Bothers,” because that is what the Ducks’ coach told Evan when he was cut. His reason for cutting Evan is that the kid is not good enough to be a pro, so he shouldn’t even bother playing. That is a horrible message to send to a child.
Bombay has been estranged from hockey and now detests it. As the season goes on Bombay comes back to life and rediscovers the joy of playing, thanks to Alex who is working her heart out to help the team. Sports should be about the love of the game, not simply being number one.
As the film goes on, Estevez said, “We see him getting re-engaged thanks to not only the kids training there, but also through Lauren's character drawing him out, drawing some truth out of him, drawing him out of his shell.”
This and the enjoyment of just playing the game is all due to Alex, whose goals (no pun intended) are to give her son the chance to play his favorite sport and to instill in the kids the lesson that winning is not everything. Having fun and being a kid is what it’s all about.
Graham stated, “I am the ‘Get out there and have fun’ 100 percent. … I don't think there is nearly enough emphasis now on just being a good person and having a good time and enjoying yourself and giving back and being creative.”
That is the lesson of the series.
Today, kids are being groomed to be the best, no matter what. Parents are pushing their kids to excel, putting more emphasis on winning than on simply having fun and enjoying life and their youth. This is yet another cause of stress for kids in this already stressful world.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers teaches viewers to look at life differently. Life is not always about winning. It is about enjoyment and friendship. As adults, we are always under stress. Childhood is not about stress. It is about just being a kid.
The series streams on Disney+.
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