All the great achievements start with a simple step. This statement can be argued, but nevertheless, the small step can be interpreted in many ways. Whether it is a refusal to change seats in a bus or winning a football game, the significance of such events should not be underestimated. In regard of the latter, the film “Remember the Titans” by Jerry Bruckheimer is exemplary in that sense. This paper analyzes the film based on three memorable scenes, which transfer the essence of the film.
The film tells the story of football coach, Herman Boone, a coach in TC Williams High School. Boone took the position of the coach at the time when racial segregation was still playing a major role in the life of the school, the city and the students, despite the official acceptance of the integration of education. Boone helps the school’s football team to overcome the racial hatred, bigotry and their own self conflicts, leading the team to win the state championship and what is more important to realize their unity through eliminating prejudices.
One of the film’s important scenes is when Coach Yoast tells Coach Boone that he might be little too hard on the boys, i.e. the football players. To which Boone replied, “Which boys are you talking about?” In this statement it can be seen that while Yoast might implying the biological age of the players, acknowledging that they still kids, Boone deals with them based on how the world is treating them, especially the black kids. In that regard, Boone is stating that they cannot be kids if they are already dealing with adult issues.
Accordingly, Boone is making a statement that they are equal in that matter, so the black kids do not need an additional patronage by treating them separately from the other team members. The importance of Boone’s statement can be seen in that inequality is not just about treating the black kids badly, but it’s about giving them special importance, while the outer world does not.
Another memorable scene is where Julius visits Bertier in the hospital, and Bertier admitted that he was afraid of him when they started playing together. This scene follows other scenes in the film, where it was shown that racial discrimination is based on suppositions and stereotypes. The discrimination is about seeing only the outer shell of the person and treating them based on that perception.
It was seen in earlier scenes, when Boone commanded the team to spend time together to know details about the team members, where for example Ray was asking Petey, “I mean, you do have a daddy right?… Wait, he does have a job, right?” In that sense, Bertier made his statement, showing regret that he overlooked his “brother” behind a shell based on prejudices, fears and suppositions.
The significance of the sport in eliminating racial barriers can be seen through the scene where Coach Yoast stated, “I know football, but what you did with those boys…you were the right man at the right time.” As it was seen in the film, the influence of the coach was not about merely teaching the kids the fundamentals of football, it was about teaching them unity for a shared goal.
Specifically for collective games like football, the success of the team does not depend on a single player, and even if all of the players were professionals, if they did not learn how to cooperate, the skills of each individual player was not sufficient to win. Thus, the sport is a significant factor in eliminating the racial prejudice as all the participants come to the conclusion that only when they are equal they are to achieve success.
The sports point out to the basic truth, that a person is what he is capable of doing, not what color is his skin. Accordingly, the influence of sport on eliminating racial discrimination goes beyond the players, spreading this influence to coaches, their families and the society as a whole. In that regard, it can be seen through Yoast’s words that Boone’s best achievement is not leading the team to the victory, but rather how he led them.
In conclusion, it should be said that the film’s significance is multiplied by the fact that it was based on a true story. As it was stated in the introduction, major achievements are made through small victories. It can be argued whether the win of the football team in a small city in Virginia was as effective as acceptance of the integrated education or the Montgomery bus boycott, the result of which might be witnessed in the latest presidential election.
Nevertheless, the contribution of such wins to the course of equality cannot be underestimated. In that regard, the unity of people for a peaceful activities and mutual victories is a better indication of the development of the society than their unity through protests and controversies.