This film is about underprivileged African American students that were given the opportunity to place their hope of a better future into their local high school football team. This film focuses on the moral aspect of football, such as character and putting the team before themselves, and through this, we can see how the lives of the individual players were changed by the unmeasurable commitment of Coach Bill. Looking at the film as a whole, the troubles and personal issues of the players were overcome or severely improved by the high expectation of elite performance at the high school level, and from this, the future of the students became a feasible reality of making it outside of their hometown of Memphis.
The documentary could be prompted by the Trayvon Martin case or the second term of Barack Obama’s presidency. I believe, in my opinion, due to the connecting similarities between the possibility of these African American players being able to live out of the “American Dream” and to the rights of other African American citizens being questioned, the audience can see that Coach Bill, in the documentary, was forcing his players to conduct themselves with poise and character to ensure that they had every chance to succeed as being that they were in the ethnic minority.
The target audience is not so much an ethnicity target than it is a humanity target; in saying this, the cycle of generational poverty is obvious, and the foundation of the documentary is firmly based upon the ambition of Manassas High School’s football coach that gave the players individual life lessons targeted toward ending their disadvantage in their current socioeconomic statuses.
In the constant dialogue with the head football coach at Manassas High School, there was always a current theme of an unending sacrifice and loyalty to his team and players. Coach Bill related to these underprivileged players in that he grew up without a father figure, similar to many of the football players. In addition to this, he used football as an outlet for his aggression that was also similar to many of the players on the team. To help the players visualize their potential, Coach Bill brought in an NFL football player that was originally from Memphis. In doing this, the players could see that there was a tangible possibility for their own success. All of this demonstrates the Ethos portion, the appealing emotional piece, of the multiple modes of persuasion in relation to the audience.
In talking about the Pathos portion, the audience was persuaded from the on-going quietness of the background music, and sometimes even still silence, that created an emotional lens that the audience looked through with such heavy impacts from the events of the documentary. In my experience from watching this, I had an immediate connection to “The Blind Side” the story of Michael Ore, an underprivileged African American football player, was able to control his future by his continuous hard work that eventually leads to his success of becoming a professional athlete in the NFL.
Lastly, Logos was demonstrated in this documentary was connected to how reason and judgment could help these players in football but also in their life. A quote from Bill Courtney, the head football coach at Manassas High School, states, “You think football builds character. It does not. Football reveals character.” Coach Bill had a strong calling to influence his players in a positive manner due to their living situations and hard life that were constantly highlighted throughout the film. Continuing that thought, the documentary is told from the point of view from Coach Bill which gives the audience an inside look at how the change in the football program at Manassas also changed the football players lives.
In bringing all of this information together, I believe that the documentary would fall at a four-star rating due to the loose framework of how the documentary was constructed. The way in which the story was told on the screen almost had too many details, and I would have enjoyed the documentary better if only the important ideas and themes were highlighted efficiently and making sure that the story was deterring from the repetitiveness of the game overviews. In saying this, the story’s overall meaning embedded in the film was quite touching and encouraging to those watching from a different socioeconomic status than that of the players.