A very niche recommendation list of sport shows that aren't really about sport at all.

Not a sporty girl. That's what my PE teacher wrote on my high school reports. And Mrs Pickersgill was right. Sometimes, I'd forget one runner, so I couldn't possibly play today. Often, I'd continually shuffle myself to the back of the starting line in any physical activity so I didn't have to start at all. Once, I played an entire game of netball throwing the ball only to my best mate. Who was on the other team. I know, I'm sorry. Teenagers are dicks. 

Anyway, here we are, very, very far from those times. And I spend my evenings watching sport-adjacent television on the couch with a cuppa. Life is unpredictable.

Turns out I've been recommending so many sports-related shows on Mamamia Out Loud, and around the office kitchen, and to anyone who'll ask me, it's become A Thing. So let's formalise it. Here are the strangely sport-adjacent shows you should be watching if you're not already...

But first, watch the trailer for Beckham. Post continues below.

Video via Netflix.

Nyad. Netflix.

For my shame, Diana Nyad is not a name I knew before last weekend. She's an American long-distance swimmer, one of those people who slather themselves in fat to traverse an ocean in a shark cage. And in 2013, she attempted to do it at age 62, swimming through jellyfish and shark-infested waters from Cuba to Florida.


You don't really need to know what happened, because watching Annette Bening play Nyad, in all her egotistical, prickly, completely indomitable glory, alongside Jodie Foster as Bonnie, her ex-girlfriend, best best friend, supporter is a journey you need to go on yourself. Rhys Ifans is the third wheel in this glorious partnership and man, it's one of those stories that makes you wonder why anyone would ever attempt to do anything so arduous. And then you remember that you thinking that is exactly why you're on the couch, and Diana Nyad is not. 

What's it really about? Resilience. Women. And how wonderfully strange some people are. 

Beckham. Netflix. 

Some people (Mia Freedman) say there's too much football in the Beckham documentary. I disagree. There's exactly the right amount. It's true, this four-part series is mostly meme-ified for the Posh moments - and Victoria Beckham is wonderfully funny and honest and very much herself here, whether it's admitting that her dad dropped her to school in a Rolls Royce, or that she didn't much think about David's imminent career-defining World Cup game when she called him up to tell him she was pregnant - but for me, the football provides all the drama. 

Those of us who lived through it were dying to hear whether or not his legendary old boss Fergie (not that Fergie, or that one) really kicked a boot at Becks, and those of us who didn't were probably impressed to discover that this ridiculously good looking man was actually famous for something other than modelling clothes. 


And the part where we watch him live through a literal hate-filled pile-on during his brief sojourn as The Most Hated Man In Britain is actually jaw-dropping. Respect, Becks, respect. 

What's it really about? David Beckham's remarkable face. 

Welcome To Wrexham. Disney Plus. 

Two movie stars buy a failing football, because they think it looks like a good investment. It's in a country they've never been to (Wales), and a game they don't understand (soccer). The words "money pit" don't begin to cover it. 

What could possibly go wrong? Welcome to Wrexham works on many levels. 

It's pervy AF to get a glimpse into how Ryan Reynolds runs his life and his businesses, and we get to see inside his house, which is always a drawcard for nosy buggers like me. We also get to enjoy the dynamic between him and co-owner Rob McElhenney (Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as they both realise they're in over their heads. Then it also works as a Cinderella story of a historic town and football club with very little to celebrate (industry's closed, the stadium's crumbling, no-one living there seems to be having a very nice time) being plucked from obscurity and having a glamour injection that changes everything. 

And also, it works as a brilliant documentary about a community literally evolving before our eyes. The locals - from the publican to the painter and decorator, the ground staff, the hooligans - are all as prominent characters as the football itself. Incredibly high quality story-telling, I am nearing the end of season two, and even though I know the outcome of Wrexham's do-or-die season is one click away from me, I am choosing to buy into the drama of watching it unfold through Welcome... It's just a bloody joy.


What's it really about? Working-class pride. And how deliciously silly Hollywood movie stars are. 

Matildas, The World At Our Feet. Disney Plus. 

If you didn't watch this in the run up to the FIFA Women's World Cup, it's not too late. Sure, there's not so much tension involved in finding out which of our heroes makes the team that will go on to obsess an entire nation, but now, you know who Mary Fowler, Courtnee Vine and Katrina Gorrie are, and so watching them train, bond and live their lives in all corners of the world is even more satisfying. 

It also gives you genuine respect for the culture that Tony Gustavsson has built around the club. Families of all kinds are encouraged. No-one's kissing anyone without permission (Spain). And queer representation is forefront. Plus, you've never seen a group of women work so hard and care so much. It's actually hashtag inspiring. 

What's it really about? How incredible women are. 

The Final Quarter. Netflix. 

Adam Goodes is a national hero. He played unbelievably brilliant football for the Sydney Swans (we're talking AFL now, keep up) until 2015, when he retired after suffering years of racist abuse on the field, and making himself unpopular in some quarters for refusing to "suck it up", in his post-playing life he's focussed on improving the lives of Indigenous kids who came after. 


The Final Quarter follows the story, and is expertly crafted and difficult to watch. This is one of two docos that came out about Goodes in 2019. The other, The Australian Dream, by Stan Grant, is also brilliant, but for me, The Final Quarter is the show you play for your kids and they just look at you and ask "How was that allowed to happen?" How, indeed.

What's it really about? Racism. Australia. Racism in Australia. 

Ted Lasso. Apple TV +.

What, you thought I wasn't going to go there? The happiest show on TV, the end. 

Okay, okay, the final season wasn't quite as magical as one and two, but seriously, even Ted on a bad day beats almost everything else on TV, hands down. I doubt you need a rundown, but here it is. 

An American football coach, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudekis) travels to London to take over a failing club (yes, I know, it's where Rob and Ryan got the Wrexham idea, of course). He's all corny movie quotes and freshly baked biscuits and at first, it seems he is the unwitting victim of a revenge plot on behalf of the owner, Rebecca (the brilliant Hannah Waddingham). But that's not how it ends up, and what you're left with is a surprisingly insightful, feminist, open-hearted and funny AF exploration of success and happiness. Okay, BRB, I'm going to go and watch it again from the beginning.

What's it really about? Wonderfulness. 

Feature Image: Disney+ / Netflix