11 valuable life lessons we can all learn from the Mighty Ducks

It was basically our moral compass.

SPORTS MOVIES ARE a tough thing to get right. To watch them, you basically have to cleanse yourself of the cynicism that keeps nagging away to say: “they’re basically all Rocky.”

It helps when the story is aimed at, and consists of, kids.

When The Mighty Ducks came out in cinemas, I was eight – though I was probably 10 or 11 by the time it hit the local video shop – the perfect time to appreciate its blend of skate-edge humour and success through adversity schtick.

charlie goal

Through each step of that adversity, there were ethical dilemmas and lessons that are hammered home like Hans at an old rusty skate.

1. Never, ever drink and drive

Well, the film sort of taught us this. I mean, the DUI arrest leads Gordon Bombay back to his first and future love – hockey and Charlie’s mom — but come on, nobody likes community service.

Source: Zach/YouTube

2. Kids have personalities too

In my day, movies and soap operas were chock full of sweet, innocent blank canvasses of children. But the Mighty Ducks took a more Goonies approach to portraying its tweens.


last coach dead

Without putting too fine a point on it, they were little bastards most of the time.

3. Without Goldberg and that other kid, we never would have known how to make the most of our ample Irish cheeks 

mouth window

4. Diving gets results

Repeat after me: “Take the fall, act hurt, get indignant.”

Source: Kevin Lammi/YouTube

5. Nah, mostly it taught us how to play sports the right way

Because nobody wanted to be this guy.


What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

6. Though in fairness that was probably the sickest burn in movie history

Source: njdryden/YouTube

7. Pressure makes diamonds, sure, but mostly it makes kids with potential crumble

poor gordon

First he lost his dad, and then the PeeWee Championship. Poor Gordon.

poor gordon2

8. It was okay to fat-shame Goldberg in the early 90s

But that’s not cool anymore, kids.

goldberg goal

9. ‘I was just following orders’ is not an acceptable excuse

pure-evil duck


10. If the opposition are bigger, stronger and just plain better than you after pole-axing your one raw talent, you can still tactically think your way to victory

Basically, if all else fails, Make a V and score a goal in three easy steps.

flying v

V successful formed? Send out some blockers.


Step three: Score goal… why didn’t anyone think of this before 1992?


11. Take some time to remember why you love sport

When you strip away all the bullshit, you can learn to feel the joy again.


The unstoppable Flying V of Mighty Ducks quizzes

About the author:

Sean Farrell

Read next: