Like takes many turns for all of us. It takes us sometimes places that we have absolutely no intention of going. Life is hard no matter which way the ball bounces.
A movie made in the 80’s called Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, and Barbra Hershey touches on life in a small Indiana town and includes relationships, alcohol, love and a man fighting to get back some of the dignity that he has lost.
As you recall a man 50 years of age comes to this town to coach a down trodden high school boy’s basketball team. He is on the down side of his career after being highly successful as a college coach but was banned from coaching after striking one of his own players along with other infractions.
Norman Dale is his name. ( Gene Hackman). His new team though small in number are molded into winners through the efforts of this coach and in spite of battles with parents early on who try to get him fired.
On of the students that is not on the team but an outstanding player, is finally convinced to join this team and in doing so helps to save his coach’s job. They come together at just the right time and win the state championship.
Of course there is a love story that makes the movie even sweeter with the coach and (Barbra Hershey) the assistant principal falling in love.
Also, this coach saves an old drunk who is the father (Dennis Hopper) of one of the players.
In my opinion this is the greatest basketball movie ever made. I can not count the times I’ve watched it. It seems every time it is on television I have to always stop what I’m doing and watch the remainder of it.
This movie is so about life. It is that hope for things to be better that drives most of us. Having that never give up attitude like coach Norman Dale had along with the other folks in the movie symbolizes what it is all about.
We all have known failures and disappointments. We have all lost at love, lost people close to us through death, lost jobs, had health issues, had problems with our kids, felt that we have been mistreated many times, and all of these are things that life is just made of.
We continue to get up after being knocked down and try and try again.
Gene Hackman states in one part of the movie that “in one second every thing I worked for was finished”.
The movie had a little of it all. It had an assistant coach who was an alcoholic but given another chance by a coach that believed in him. It had an assistant principal that came back to the small town that she grew up in so she could take care of a mother in declining health. It had a group of town people who thought they had waited long enough to have a winning basketball team.
I wondered many times what it was about this movie that I loved so much. It finally dawned on me that I see myself in this movie. I had gone back to a small town that I grew up in a few years ago to work in a counseling center. I was during that time nearing the end of my career.
I felt while there that I had won a personal championship. I saw things come together with staff from various backgrounds molded into the best center I had been associated with. We did countless things for the good of that community.
What makes this sort of thing happen? I think it is what Gene Hackman told his players early on in that movie. And I quote him, “Its team, team, team functioning together as one unit. No one is more important that the next. “
To me that’s what life is really all about. It’s a team approach. Without it, life doesn’t make much sense does it?