The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

A view of the 1960s through basketball

Deemed by many as “Remember the Titans” with basketball, “Glory Road” had a lot of preconceived notions to overcome when it hit theaters on Jan. 13, 2006. People were afraid of paying money to see a movie they saw in 2000, now on a court instead of a field.

“Glory Road” was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Pictures, the same people who produced “Remember the Titans”. The important thing, however, and what helped make the films so different is that they were written and directed by different people. Written by Chris Cleveland and directed by James Gartner, “Glory Road” shows the fight the Texas Western Miners go through just to play basketball.

The movie takes place during the 1965-1966 basketball season. It was a time in this country where everything was confused: Malcolm X had been murdered in February of 1965, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 restored the right to vote for many blacks in the South. Life was changing and not everyone was willing to accept that.

The movie starts when Don Haskins, a varsity girls’ basketball coach, is offered the coaching job at Texas Western in El Paso, Texas. (Haskins is played by Josh Lucas (“Sweet Home Alabama”). He begins to scout for his team, based on skill, not color. Haskins recruits seven African American players for his team and starts two of them; Bobby Joe Hill (played by Derek Luke) is the starting point guard for the team.

Haskins teaches the boys fundamental basketball. He tries to get down to the basics. One thing he always tells his team is, “You’ll play basketball my way. My way is hard.” The Miners win games with their line-up, and they become friends, white and black. And surprisingly, they keep winning.

There is a lot of basketball in “Glory Road,” but the heart of the movie lies in the boys that play on the team. The internal struggle with themselves and the external battle with a society that wants to see them lose is what drives this movie. You see the team learn that not everything can be defined by race. They learn to love one another and stand by one another.

That lesson does not come easy, however. Haskins tells the boys, “You wanna shake off that hate? Shut them up. Win.”

It takes an attack on a black team member, a defacement of one of the rooms for the boys to truly see what it means to be a team.

There isn’t white and black on the court with the Miners; they are players, equals. They’ve learned the teamwork and discipline that Haskins has been trying to teach them from day one.

The true challenge comes in the NCAA Championship Game versus the Kentucky Wildcats. Haskins starts five black players and his only two subs are blacks also.

The Kentucky coach, Adolph Rupp, played by Jon Voight, is outraged and determined to teach Haskins a lesson. It is Rupp however that learns a lesson in how to treat people.

“It’s not about who has the most talent now; it’s about heart.” Haskins and his team change the face of basketball.

They had the desire and the heart that was needed for change in how the game operated.

Sports often become more than games when controversial issues come into play and “Glory Road” does an amazing job of telling the story of 12 basketball players and one coach who faced an entire country of adversity just to play a game.

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