20 Years Of 'Space Jam': How Revisiting The Film Cemented Important Life Lessons
I live for nostalgia. I love the feeling of going back to a time when everything was a breath of fresh air rather than a gulp of stress, and pulling examples from the past always makes for a killer reference during a conversation.
One of the things that always brings me back to that good place is Space Jam, and boy, does the love for this movie run deep in me. When I was a little girl and all my friends had Barbie sleeping bags, my sleeping bag had the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan on it. I also owned a few stuffed animals donning the Tune Squad Jerseys, and Lola Bunny herself was painted on my childhood bedroom wall.
Now, at 23 years old, I still know where my VHS and soundtrack copies are, and last year, I made the very adult decision to buy a Tune Squad Jersey of my own. In fact, my 90s-themed “Jordan Year” birthday shindig this past summer was based around that particular purchase, because the Jersey’s number is 23. You may say obsessed, I’d like to say I’m just a dedicated fan of 90s pop culture.
Being able to see one of my favorite childhood films on the big screen again for the 20th anniversary of the film’s release this past Sunday (Nov. 13) at the Regal Theater in NYC’s Union Square gave me a chance to not only tear up in a public setting because the nostalgia was real, but I was also able to have a helluva lot of retrospective thinking about my own life.
Of course, I always want more for myself when it comes to my professional life. While I was watching the film again, I realized that it’s perfectly natural for your work to take a backseat so you can focus on other things that make you happy. In doing so, you may find yourself appreciating what you really love to do a lot more.
In the film, Michael Jordan was just beginning his short-lived baseball career after announcing his retirement from basketball. However, he was (more or less) forced to take mini-break to help a few cartoon characters who needed his skills with the rock, and he ended up going back to the NBA. I can attest this type of scenario to be true in my own life (minus the being-kidnapped-by-cartoons deal).
When I was getting ready to graduate from college, I was hunky-dory about becoming a comedy writer. I even snagged myself a pretty lucrative comedy writing internship. However, when I started to realize more and more that it was no longer my passion, I found myself reading and writing more about music and culture, something that I’ve always had an interest in. Long story short, my initial passion of music and culture writing was put on the back burner, and after a little while away from it, I realized that it was what I needed to be doing.
Something else that resonated with me while watching the movie is that it’s 100 percent okay to have fun every so often. This movie seemed like it was a good time to film, and it was a break for the basketball players involved in the film to put their competitive nature aside and to just get silly for a second. It’s okay to have fun every so often, not everything needs to feel so rigorous.
We get so sucked into a daily routine and daily responsibilities that sometimes we completely forget that it’s okay to step back every once in a while to do something that brings us joy, not stress. This past year, I’ve been so focused on my writing that I damn near forgot to take a break and do the other hobbies that I love, like dancing and reading (not just articles, but real life books).
All in all, the nostalgic feeling I relived while watching for the umpteenth time was not only enjoyable, but rewarding. I got to see my favorite moments on the big screen, and there were lessons that I will be able to take with me for the duration of my Jordan Year.
I'm seeing Space Jam in theaters and it feels so nice to see other grown adults here.
— J'na (@jnajefferson) November 13, 2016