Motocrossed, Disney Channel’s 27th Original Movie, premiered exactly 15 years ago today (February 16). That means it’s been 15 years since we first fell in love with Dean Talon (Riley Smith), groaned at literally anything Rene Cartier (Michael Cunio) said, and cheered on Andy Carson (Alana Austin) as she raced against the boys in a “man’s sport.”
Watching Motocrossed back in 2001 as a nine-year-old girl who wanted absolutely nothing to do with stereotypical girly stuff, this movie was everything to me. And while Andy was “girlier” than me — she did do cheerleading, something I was never interested in — it didn’t matter. Andy wanted to hang out with the boys and beat them at their own game. Just like me.
Growing up, my sport of choice was basketball, but I only could play on an all-girl’s team, that is, until I finally got the chance to play co-ed. This particular team featured more boys than girls, and I could tell the boys weren’t exactly thrilled to have me playing with them. Until they saw that I could hold my own, however, just like Andy did.
Seeing Motocrossed as a kid really helped encourage me not to back down from something I loved just because people thought girls shouldn’t do it. That archaic mindset is complete and total bullshit, of course, as girls can play any sport they want to. As Geneva Carson (Mary-Margaret Humes) deftly pointed out, if you’re willing to risk your son’s safety for a sport he loves, why wouldn’t you do the same for your daughter?
Motocrossed patriarch Edward Carson (Timothy Carhart) lived in a severely outdated world, one where girls needed to stick to safe, girly stuff, and leave the down-n-dirty business to the boys. But after Andrew Carson (Trever O’Brien) hurt his leg and couldn’t compete, his twin sister Andy stepped in and took his place. And she was good. (Well, she got better with Dean’s help, but whatever.)
For the entire movie, Edward was a broken record, only saying, “I don’t want you racing. It’s too dangerous,” blah, blah, blah. It’s clear to anyone watching the movie that he’s 100% wrong, yet when real world examples happen, many people end up adopting his mindset.
We think we’re more advanced than we once were, but when stuff like this happens, an unfortunate truth reveals itself: We still have a long way to go. And that’s why movies like Motocrossed will always be relevant to young girls. The movie may be 15 years old, but the topic is still a very current problem.
Arguably one of the best scenes of the film was when younger brother Jason Carson (Scott Terra) point blank asked his mom why his sister wasn’t allowed to race. He explained his school taught about women’s rights and how “today there aren’t any jobs that women can’t do … and how great it is that we’ve come so far and everything.” (Preach, Jason.)
It took her 13-year-old son dropping some major truth bombs for Geneva to finally decide to go behind her husband’s back and let their daughter race with the boys.
Plus, you can’t forget about Barbara Rollins (Aloma Wright), who was the “Senior Vice President in charge of racing.” The fact they have a female senior VP for a “man’s sport” is the very definition of irony, but it ended up working in Andy’s favor.
Although the scene with Barbara was super short, it was immensely powerful. It showed young girls that women can hold high positions, with men like Bob Arness (Mark Curry) working under them and answering to them, not the other way around. Score one point for Disney.
Moreover, Dean never had an issue with Andy racing as a girl. His only problem was she lied to him and let him open up to her without revealing who she really was. But he quickly got over that, since he showed up at the Carson house, hoping they’d hire him for the 250 division. He didn’t care that they allowed a *gasp* girl to ride with the boys, and in fact, he seemed to really dig it. And honestly, that’s how we all should be.