One of the wilder aspects about the movie was that it was took place during the 1960’s, yet race was not the underlying theme. One was Hispanic, one was Black and the entire group ran together in unison with no awareness of the cultural movement taking place at the same time to mimic their bond. Of course it was an extreme exaggeration of how things really were, but in essence, that’s how race relations should present themselves in all walks and ages of life. More importantly, the coming of age flick symbolized a collection of friends that were a larger representation of the people so many of us grew up with.
Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez – This was the one guy in your neighborhood (or surrounding neighborhoods) that every kid knew was a cut above the rest and it wasn’t even close. He was always picked first, yet the best thing about him was that you grew up together and he was cool as a fan. If anyone was going pro, it would be this guy because, as far as you knew at the time, he was the greatest you ever witnessed step foot a basketball court/football field/baseball diamond.
Scotty Smalls – Scotty may have not been in your hood since birth, but he moved there and instantly fit right in. He probably wasn’t even the greatest athlete in the world either, but you could pick him up on your team and he’d be good enough for one or two good plays a game. This was probably the guy that whenever sleepovers went down, they were at his house because he either A) had the biggest TV or B) his mom had no problems cooking/ordering pizza for the whole crew.
Hamilton “The Great Hambino” Porter – Everybody had that one fat kid who played sports and talked enough sh*t to make even Muhammed Ali form a tear in his eye. Being loyal was his most outstanding quality and you knew if anything went down, Ham would be right there to throw the first punch. I knew somebody like that and to this day he remains as cool as he was when we were kids. Still talking cash money sh*t too about everything under the sun.
Bonus: This guy Ham told the jerk on the bicycle he played ball like a girl. Perhaps leaving your childhood in the past has allowed you to forget the consequences of such a statement. Someone comparing your game to that of a female’s is like challenging someone to a duel. One of y’all has to go. It’s just no other way around it.
Double Bonus: “You’re killing me, Smalls!” Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Michael “Squints” Palledorous – Squints is basically the slimmer and shorter version of Ham. Credit this to his Napoleon complex, but there wasn’t anyone with more heart than Squints. He was also the one kid out of the clique to talk to a girl when everyone else had their hesitations.
Siskel and Ebert’s claim to fame is safe. I’ve never been confused with a movie critic and never will be, so as far as I know, The Sandlot is considered “average” by the masses. Not that it makes me much of a difference however. What the 1993 film represented was a permanent sense of nostalgia. It was a trip back to a point in time when the only things I cared about were figuring out how my light skinned self could sport a bald head like Michael Jordan and convincing my mother to let me attend Camp Anawanna.
**Cues Ahmad’s “Back In The Day”**
You read the quote though. Heroes get remembered and legends never die. The funny thing is, memories tend to do both.