10 Sports Documentaries You Can Stream At Home With Your Library Card

By Carrie McBride, Communications
June 28, 2024
a teen girl lifts a large barbell

Film still from 'Lift Like a Girl'

Did you know that you can watch movies at home using your library card? Through a partnership with Grasshopper Film, a company dedicated to distributing independent films, your NYPL library card gives you access to their Projectr streaming service. 

With excitement for the Summer Olympics building, it's a perfect time to highlight compelling sports documentaries. From a girls soccer team in Chicago who don't even have a field to play on, to Special Olympians in rural Pakistan hoping to show themselves in a new light and more, these films embody the spirit and resiliency of sport.

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Don't have a New York Public Library card? Apply for a card online or in person at one of our locations.

two young girls walk with their arms around each other on a soccer field

In the Game (2015, 77 minutes)

In the Game follows the ups and downs of a girls’ soccer team on Chicago's south side where the girls face an uneven playing field (in fact, no soccer field at all), little or no support, problems at home, uncertain futures, discrimination, and poverty, but remain undaunted thanks to their teammates and the dedicated mentoring of their coach.

a teenage wrestler sitting on the floor of a gym

Wrestle (2019, 96 minutes)

A coming-of-age documentary about four members of a high-school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School, a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan each face challenges far beyond a shot at the State Championship: splintered family lives, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health struggles, and run-ins with the law threaten to derail their success on the mat and lock any doors that could otherwise open. 

John McEnroe serving a tennis ball on a clay tennis court

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018, 95 minutes)

Though John McEnroe was the No. 1 tennis player of his day, he never won the French Open. Director Julien Faraut uses the toughest of those losses—to Ivan Lendl in 1984—to anchor this cinematic study of McEnroe's wily game and notorious anger.

a teen playing basketball alone on a court outside in a city

True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball (2018, 150 minutes)

Canada produces the most NBA talent outside of the United States, and Toronto is at the epicentre of this boom. True North provides an intimate look at the rise of the Toronto hoop dream through the stories of five young athletes, inspired by the wave of NBA talent coming from their city. 

promo for a documentary film showing an illustration of a barbell and sunglasses

Lift Like a Girl (2020, 92 minutes)

With the guidance of her relentless coach, a teen weightlifter emerges from a scrappy training camp in Egypt to compete at the championship level. Filmmaker Mayye Zayed intimately follows Zebiba and her coach in their challenging quest to win the next world championship over the course of four years while the stakes keep getting higher and their bonds deepen. 

a child bends down in a starting position of a running race

As Far As They Can Run (2022, 38 minutes)

An intimate, unflinching look at children with intellectual disabilities in rural Pakistan who have been deemed "useless" by their communities. A searing "verité" portrait of three young teenagers who manage to find some acceptance and a place in society through sports. As Far As They Can Run is a moving documentary that provides an important and revealing window into the world of Special Olympics and the impact this event has on a community.

a young Black woman moving with a basketball

Red Card (2020, 87 minutes)

In Comoros, three female Muslim basketball players from the national team and their veteran coach, struggle with the lack of infrastructure and the landlocked political and economic situation of this archipelago. Red Card pays tribute to the resilience of these young women and an old man who, against all odds, choose to stay in their country and fight every day to build their future there.

a drawing of a soccer play diagram

Infinite Football (2018, 70 minutes)

Infinite Football follows the travails of a former soccer star and current local bureaucrat in a small Romanian town who dreams of revolutionizing the rules of the world’s most popular sport. This surprising documentary introduces us to an unforgettable individual, a self-proclaimed Superman, whose quixotic quest mirrors the pursuit of our own hopes and dreams.

a lone man on a hockey rink

A Dark Room (2015, 52 minutes)

Max Taylor was on a clear path to a dream career in the National Hockey League. His dream ended in one game where he sustained two concussions and was stretchered off the ice on oxygen. After this, Max could not function for 12 months, stuck in a dark room with recurring headaches, isolated from the sport he loved. Through Max, we see an uncompromising, gritty, and science-based look at how hockey culture, and the stigma that it perpetuates, is contributing to a concussion and mental health epidemic.

illustration of men in basketball uniforms sitting in bleachers

Gunnin' For That #1 Spot (2008, 97 minutes)

Filmmaker and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch documents the lives and talent of some of America's most gifted high school basketball players as they prep for the first annual Elite 24 all-star game in 2006 at Harlem's famed Rucker Park. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabar were groomed on that same court, and young hopefuls such as Jerryd Bayless, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans and Kevin Love hope to follow in their footsteps.