Parents' Guide to

Born to Play

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Female athletes fight for glory in tender football doc.

TV ESPN Reality TV 2020
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There's plenty of valor to go around in sports movies and the lion's share generally goes to male players, but the women of the Renegades fight, hard, and win at least a measure of respect and admiration. The diminished status of women's sports is underlined in countless ways in this sensitive documentary. There's the revelation that all the Renegades players pay to play, the camera sweeping over the sparse crowds at games, and one player's realization that she can't just recover from an injury like a male player and keep going out on the field because she has a day job she needs to maintain. "The male pros can commit 100 percent of their time and energy to playing and improving," she tells us wistfully in Born to Play. "I wish I could do that too."

And yet, these powerful athletes are electrified with delight to be playing at all. The joy is particularly evident emanating from quarterback Allison Cahill, who first announced her intention of growing up to be a football player at age 4. At practices, at games, even in her day job as a personal trainer, she pushes so hard it's as if she could will her team into success and acclaim with one more drill, one more play. Cornerback Chanté Bonds.puts it into words: "Being on the field makes me feel alive," she says bluntly. "I was born to play." And this sentiment -- despite the ordinariness of their day-to-day lives, and the injuries, and the never ending struggle -- is why these women soldier on. It's easy to admire their athleticism and grace on the field, but it's in their daily lives that these women show their true toughness, enduring so much for such precious little glory.

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