McFarland, USA: Dashing Underdogs

So on my 12 hour flight to South Korea I watched a great sports movie called McFarland, USA. It’s about a outrageous football coach who after losing his job gets hired at a high school in the hood in California. Him and his family, who were Caucasian, became the minorities in a community that was made up of Mexican-Americans. He begins as an assistant coach which doesn’t last too long for someone as over-qualified as he was to be under someone who obviously didn’t have the experience necessary to be a head coach above him. He loses his coaching position but remains a teacher. In a random happenchance, of course, on his way home he notices one of his students running. He follows him and to his surprise the boy was going about 12 mph. He gets the idea then that maybe football was the wrong sport for this school in particular and that maybe a cross-country team would be a more successful sport.

Cross-country is a long distance running sport in which the athletes run long distance courses as a team. The runners are scored lowest to highest by whoever crosses the finish line first and the team with the lowest score at the end of the meet is the winner. The courses will vary by distance, school, location, and geography so runners need to be prepared for just about anything.

The movie portrays the classic story of the underdogs fighting their way to gain respect, achievement, and accomplish a goal together in spite of their impoverished and labor-intensive lives. For most of the boys on the team, their lives outside of school consisted of home and working in the fields. So not only were they completing a full day of labor intensive work, they also attended school, and trained afterwards running many miles for their work-out. Literally while on the plane I found myself smiling, laughing and even crying tears of happiness for these remarkable kids who overcame the hardships of their lives with so much life and joy. I would recommend others to watch it as well if they want to go along on this journey of a movie. It is also based on a true story so go check it out!

Real McFarland Team

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