Sep 8 2010

Football Movies – Some Lessons About Character, Vice, and Virtue

Last Saturday when I sat down to watch my Texas Longhorns the sports pundits said that they expected more of a running game since they would need to adjust their game to match their new talent. I groaned. I love the thrill of seeing the football hurtling down the field to a receiver who catches it and runs it for a long gain.

But that’s not what happens in real life. In real life we inch forward, lose ground, and sustain hits that knock us down. In most football movies the struggle on the field, that tedious inch-by-inch progress punctuated by blocks and tackles, unjust calls and rookie mistakes is a metaphor for the way life usually works. Sure football movies are full of clichés, but the stories they tell can serve as reminders of how often our attitudes thwart our relationships and our forward progress.

Any Given Sunday – In the half-time pep talk Coach D’Amato says that, “the inches we need are everywhere. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch.” Life events come at us from every direction and sometimes seem to conspire to lay us flat. I can figure I’m just a victim of fate and envy the lucky ones; or I can learn some patience, figure out the holes in the line and rejoice in progress by inches. Continue reading

Aug 21 2010

Top 10 Movie Teachers and the Theme of Sloth


John Keating in Dead Poets Society – Sloth demands nothing. It encourages conformity and accepts mediocrity. Keating doesn’t just encourage his students to read and write poetry, but to commit to its passion. While fiction may tell a story, poetry is a snapshot of the emotion and passion that drives the story. Keating encourages his students to stop going through the motions and seize the day.

Jamie Escalante in Stand and Deliver – Sloth make excuses. We may compare ourselves with others. We may conclude that our ethnic, economic or academic challenges are the factors that stand in the way of success. Escalante will have none of this. He challenges his students to do the work and equips his students with the skills necessary to compete. Escalante shows his students that they have the power to change their circumstances rather than resenting those who seem to have it easier.