The Bad News Bears is the best sports movie ever. It established a lot of the tropes that would go on to define the Underdog Makes Good genre for years to come, but at its core, there are some key differences. Sure, the worst team is able to add a couple new players, build confidence, and confound expectations, but for The Bad News Bears, that’s not the focus.

The movie isn’t about winning so much as it is about the kids being treated with enough respect and compassion that they develop enough confidence and self respect to actually enjoy themselves. I know Matthau’s Buttermaker is kind of a drunk asshole, but his brusque nature and refusal to coddle the kids is the first time anyone has respected them enough to expect them to do anything but fuck up.

The other major theme is that sports parents are assholes. People usually remember that, counter to the eventual standard, the Bears lose their big game against the Yankees. What people forget is that they lose by choice. Buttermaker pulls the best kids and puts the benchwarmers on the field. He does this because seeing the Yankee’s coach slap his kid jolts him into realizing he’s turning into the kind of person who tries to make up for his failures by pressuring kids into success. Success doesn’t matter. Winning won’t make you a happy person. Assholes with trophies are still assholes.