2010 is the year of the World Cup in South Africa, so it is only fitting that we should commemorate the event by writing a feature on the South African web animated series perfect for kids 5 and up. Originally a comic strip, Supa Strikas is about a soccer team in pursuit of the Super League trophy. The show, so far, has three episodes, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll be discussing only one of them: “Cup Final Survival Tips.”
Supa Strikas‘ opponents, of course, are formidable: Invincible United. With a name like that, the odds are stacked against our heroes. Invincible United, a team of men with menacing scowls and scars, are armed by their coach with the following inspirational words: “Remember, no one will remember how you play today. They will only remember who won.” Thus, they shamelessly cheat, commit fouls, and deliver such snarky lines like, “See, I also have special skills,” after deliberately tripping Supa Strikas’ star player, Shakes. In the locker room during halftime, placed in the shadows, Invincible United’s coach demands that they do whatever it takes, as the players lift weights and ominously flex their muscles.
Meanwhile, Supa Strikas learn from their coach that winning dishonestly does not taste as sweet as winning with the pure talent they have. They learn not to sacrifice their integrity just because their enemy has. The teammates support one another, and when one does not succeed in making the goal, the wise captain is always there to ensure solidarity. The lesson is clear: honesty is the best policy and teamwork is invaluable. Cheating, we learn, is never the way to success, and results are always proportional to effort: you get out what you put in, the team’s captain teaches us. Overall, the show is full of positive messages that apply to more arenas than just sports.
Every clip averages about one minute in length, so the only annoying part is that you have to watch the intro every minute or so to see the whole episode unfold. But if you have the patience for that, watching the underdog win is, as we all know, always rewarding. Indeed, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that everyone loves an underdog, so I leave you with this video, inspired by the underdogs, the 1980 US Olympic hockey team.
PS: Have you seen the recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother” in which we discover that Barney Stinson always roots for the powerful bad guys? How did he react to the ending of “Terminator,” you ask? “Who among us didn’t shed a tear when his little red eye went out at the end, and he didn’t get to kill those people?”