Move over Knute Rockne—All American (1940) Brian’s Song (1971), Hoop Dreams (1994), Hoosiers (1986), Miracle (2004)! Each generation seems to spawn its own inspirational team sports movie. They are always true stories of young people, who have overcome hardships, and won despite the odds. The film, which will take its place among the top sports films for this generation, should be the new release—When the Game Stands Tall. What makes it even more special for us, in Arizona, is the fact that one of the main characters—Cam Colvin—now lives here in Phoenix. He greeted friends and supporters at the Valley premiere of the film at the iPic in Scottsdale on August 21, 2014.
As we suffer through another Arizona Diamondbacks’ losing streak, we can marvel at this seldom-told tale of De La Salle High School in California, which holds the longest winning streak in sports: 151 games. But the film focuses on the misfortunes that befall the Coach Bob Ladoucer and Colvin after the 151st win, and how the team eventually regroups, and redefines and rediscovers success.
Director Thomas Carter tells the story in a straightforward manner, no confusing flashbacks, fancy special effects or distracting talking to the camera. Jim Caviezel, of television Person of Interest fame, is sincere, low-key and believable. Most of the other actors are newcomers, fresh and successful reliving the angst of being small town heroes forced into maturity by the pressure of parents, fans, competing teams, and death.
Colvin went on to attend Oregon, with four teammates, and the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He owns a marketing company-CamColvin Inc—and supports charities, like the local Linking Sports & Communities LLC, that encourages student athletes to stay in school. The real-life Colvin is the type of a leader we wish all student athletes would become.
Colvin told the audience “I have learned never to take the ones you love for granted. I am blessed to be able to share this story and, hopefully, inspire other young people.”
Some tweens might be bored by the lack of explosions, but there are enough bone-crunching football hits to satisfy most Monday night football fans. All parents in Arizona should take their kids of all ages and interests to this movie, then have a meaningful talk with them, for a change, about the real meaning of winning.