unquestioned authority. All the three movies discussed in this chapter
depict the conflict between the coaches and the players when they first
encounter one another at the beginning of the films. Those who do not
obey or follow the coach’s orders are either kicked out of the team or
punished severely. Then, rigorous physical training in the fundamentals
is always the first lesson for the players. All of the teams in these movies
start as underdogs, and they all begin to win only after mastering basic
skills and achieving advanced physical fitness.
Coach characters in movies not only coach basketball games,
they also guide the players’ life challenges and lead them onto the right
path. “The role of the coach in a school setting is a complex one with
demands, sometimes conflicting, coming from such diverse counter-
roles as players, the parents of players, school administrator, faculty,
booster clubs, other coaches, and the like” (Pratt and 312 Eitzen). All
the players on high school and college teams are teenagers or young
adults who need to treated with great care but not as babies. Whether
coming from neighborhood full of gangs and drugs dealers or from a
small, isolated town, their environments do not provide the players the
necessary education to succeed outside of that environment. The role
that these three coaches play is to make the players understand that life
is much more complicated than playing basketball. By overcoming the
difficulties on the court and resolving problems and conflicts in life, the
players the boys become students on the way to becoming men. Coach
Dale illuminates the path toward a brighter future and a better life for
the students while Coaches Carter and Haskins lead their players to
prove themselves and break the chains of racism. In other words, as
Mary M. Dalton explains, “They care about students in what involved
with them on a personal level; they learn from students in what becomes
a reciprocal process; they personalize the curriculum to meet everyday
needs in students’ lives” (159). These role models transcend their
identity as coaches to become life mentors. Without an exception, their
players not only succeed together on the basketball court, but they also
find success in their latter lives without the coach there to force them
to practice or to study. Anyone can succeed if she, ze, or he tries hard
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