8. Remember the Titans

This is the first of only two football movies on my list.  Why?  It’s difficult to make a great football movie.  Put together your top ten list and tell me how many of them are football movies.  Unless you’re a die hard football fan and that’s the only sports movies you will watch, you won’t have many on your list, guaranteed.

“Remember the Titans” is based on the true story of the 1971 T.C. Williams high school football team from Alexandria, Virginia.  The main character is the head coach of the football team, Herman Boone played by Denzel Washington.  Now don’t go storming off to watch this because Denzel is in it.  There is much more to this movie.

Basically the story goes like this.  Segregation was beginning to be washed away and in Virginia it started with an all white school and an all black school being integrated into T.C. Williams.  Boone was hired to be the coach of the all black school while the all white school coach Bill Yoast, played by Will Patton, was to be the head coach for T.C. Williams.  Boone was going to be an assistant under Yoast at T.C. Williams, but the school board decided before the season to give the job to Boone over Yoast.

Of course that didn’t go over well and all hell was about to break loose.  What it all boils down to is that it’s a case of black and white at a time when they were judging by the color of their skin and not the content of their character.  Even when it came to playing a game of football.  This true story of what both Herman Boone and Bill Yoast did to calm the animosity both on the field and in the community is nothing short of miraculous.  At the same time the football team was doing something that was extremely special too.

The two star players, both playing on defense, were at each others throats from the start.  Gerry Bertier, played by Ryan Hurst was white.  Julius Campbell, played by Wood Harris was black.  Both were headstrong, but soon realized that what they originally thought about each other was completely wrong.  Their story along with the coaches was amazing to see unfold.

During their camp at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, coach Boone decided to take the entire team for a pre-dawn hike.  At the end of the hike they came upon hallowed ground in which coach Boone said the following:

Coach Boone: Anybody know what this place is?  This is Gettysburg.  This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg.  Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today.  This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys.  Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies.  Listen to their souls, men.  I killed my brother with malice in my heart.  Hatred destroyed my family.  You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead.  If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were.  I don’t care if you like each other or not, but you will respect each other.  And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.

If that was just a Hollywood speech so be it.  If the real Herman Boone said this, that is truly an amazing speech.  Either way, it brings to life what the movie is all about.  We too will be destroyed if we don’t come together right now.

To me this movie both brings light to modern times.  It’s just a movie, but the core of the story is that we need to judge someone by their character and not by skin color if we are to be a cohesive society.  Anyone can play a game together and anyone can do anything they want so long as they strive to be the best they can be.  Tensions were high and no body wanted to get along, but they realized that there wasn’t anything different about them other than the color of their skin.

This top 10 list is sports movies that I’ve seen.  Not what others recommend, but only what my eyes have seen and that I truly enjoy.  If you haven’t seen this movie, netflix it, pirate the movie, however you go about watching movies, just do it.

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