Movie: Sons of Ben
This film is a testament to the fact that a little bit of passion, and a whole lot of hard work can make things happen. The key is believing in your goal, and never giving up, even in the face of major setbacks and disappointment. This documentary follows the Sons of Ben, the group of die-hard soccer fans who successfully lobbied to bring a Major League Soccer franchise team to Philadelphia. This grassroots group accomplished this by creating a supporters club, and drumming up massive fan interest from the ground up. They created the scarves, shirts, and rowdy displays of support for a Philadelphia team before one even existed. It’s quite a sight.
The message that comes through the strongest in this film is just how hard these guys worked to get their team. We get to see the series of achievements and heartbreaks that these fans had to endure. And, it really is amazing to see that kind of dedication and vision. Enthusiasm for a fun, new project usually dies out long before any real work gets done. And, the Sons of Ben understood what it would take to push through that kind of deceleration. And, we can tell that it really was a labor of love.
Of course, we have the benefit of watching this documentary with hindsight. We already know that Philadelphia succeeded in getting their MLS team—the Philadelphia Union. So, the drama isn’t quite as nerve-wracking as it could have been. But, I appreciated that. And, we still get to feel the struggle along with the Sons of Ben as they receive promises from investors and politicians that never materialize. What is particularly fascinating is seeing the scope of the project that was planned, and comparing it with the more modest stadium that was eventually built. It really gives you some perspective on the whole property development industry.
But, if this story has taught us anything it’s that we shouldn’t give up on the vision of that complete, bustling mini-city just because of one more setback. Seeing how much good the new stadium has already brought to the previously blighted area is enough to foster hope for the completed vision. I highly recommend that you go and check out this film. It’s a heartwarming reminder of the kinds of projects regular people can achieve if they really set their minds and hearts to it.