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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coach Carter

On FX recently I caught this movie from beginning to end and I like this movie. Hopefully you'll agree because maybe your teenage plays on a team and you might hope that the team is coached by a man like Carter. This film is based on a true story.

The setting is Richmond, California. A struggling city with a struggling school where it's not expected of many high school graduates to go on to college. It's a tough town with the issues of violence, gangs, & drugs.

Carter was an alumni of Richmond's high school where he's coaching. His credentials as a baller is hanging in the rafters. He has a son who was attending a much more well off private high school who chose to be at his dad's side at Richmond. I should also add that Carter also owned a local business there while he does have a stipend coaching is not his day job, consider this a volunteer gig.

When the coach makes his debut he offers his players contracts. I like this touch perhaps playing basketball on the lowest level should be treated in some respects as the pro-level. In order to play on his team there are some requirements that must be met. The first is presentation, the players must dress in a suit and tie and I suppose the idea might be a show of professionalism. No big deal, except for the parents who at the coach's meeting with them claimed they couldn't afford it although the coach said that one could buy a tie at the goodwill store for .50 cents.

The second requirement is GPA. Players must maintain a 2.3 GPA at least .3 tenths above the district mandated GPA at 2.0. The method behind this is explained by Carter who is looking forward to his players GPA and future college prospects. If a player only had a 2.0 they'd have to score much higher on the SATs than they would if they earned a 2.3. This should be well enough to earn a basketball scholarship to college.

In order to check on his players to make sure they were living up to their bargain in the classroom he had to pester school officials for progress reports. The principal questioned why he would go so far and what does that have to do with his coaching. When he finally did get progress reports he decided to cancel practice and forfeit some of the season so that his players can lift up their grades in order to play.

This is where resistance to his coachship started to get stiff. A window at his store was shattered, he was spat on by a parent, and he had to deal with parents who just didn't see the point about what he was doing. This conflict came to a head at a school board meeting. He made his case told the board that if they didn't support his efforts he'd quit. He had locked his team out of the gym and the school board voted to end this lockout.

I should note that the principal may have agreed but didn't see eye to eye with coach Carter. Of course she may have fell victim to pessimism. She thought apparently that basketball was going to be the highlight of thier school experience and that Carter had no right to even take that away from them. Of course Carter is attempting to look at a bigger picture here to perhaps get beyond the bare minimum and allow these students the idea that they can get the opportunity for education beyond a high school diploma.

Thankfully his team was behind him and they got their grades up so they can play basketball. They were still a great basketball team even after this lockout. At the end of the movie many of these players did actually go to college and playball on the college level even graduate. During the course of this movie a mother mentions that even the idea of junior college was a big step.

Get this movie when you get the first chance!

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