Honestly, I’m not usually a huge fan of football movies, probably because I am not a huge football fan. (I know – a cardinal sin for a Wisconsinite!) The Game Stands Tall proved to be the exception to that statement. But then again, The Game Stands Tall is about far more than just football.
Based on a true story of the De La Salle High School football team’s winning streak and the effect of their eventual loss on all involved. The movie delves deep, beyond just the football aspect, and explores issues like parental pressure, inner city violence, and the search for work/life balance.
When the Game Stands Tall begins when the De La Salle football team is well into their winning streak. We see coach Bob Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel) working behind the scenes to instill values and a sense of family in his players. It quickly becomes apparent that there is more to De La Salle’s winning streak than just athletic prowess.
When the streak suddenly comes to an end and the team faces a tragedy, each member deals a little differently. The stresses threaten to destroy all that Ladouceur has worked to build and possibly even the coach himself.
I loved When the Game Stands Tall. I took my whole family to the preview (including LJ who is 10) and it was a great film for all of us to see together. While there are some scenes of urban violence, it is done in such a way that parents do not need to be concerned about bringing elementary aged children to see it. The messages that the movie has about identity and family are timeless and it serves as a great jumping off point for discussions afterwards. One of my favorite lines in the movie is delivered by the assistant coach (played by Michael Chiklis) when he says “Don’t let a game define who you are, let the way you live your lives do that.” The movie goes beyond just being about football and examines our identities and self image and what we use to create both.