With September 29th marking the 20 year anniversary of the release of "Remember The Titans", we are all reminded of one of the greatest sports movies ever created.
With the movie taking place in the early 1970s, two schools are integrated to form T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Herman Boone reluctantly takes the position of head coach, replacing Bill Yoast, a local favorite, and nominee of the Virginia High School Hall of Fame. This not only rises the tensions of integration in the community, but divides those set on tradition, and those who want change for the African American Community.
With the new coaching job, Boone is tasked with uniting the new players from the all black school, with the all white players on the team. It is a task that requires much patience but often a stern approach, and after a while he is able to manage that goal. While I would love to breakdown the entire movie, as it is a masterpiece of a film, I suggest that everyone watch it, as there is a great amount of lessons that can be learned - not only for today's divided nation, but also for trials and obstacles we all might face in our life.
The true story of a high school football team exhibits why the only way to reach a goal is together, and that divided, progress is impossible. Here are a just some of the great lessons we could all learn from "Remember The Titans".
There will always be diversity.
The Titans exemplify what a diverse group is, as each player has come from certain backgrounds, and certain households. In the beginning of the movie, there is an obvious division between the two groups based on race, and neither group seems to be open to socialize with the other. Coach Boone establishes early on, that he will hold each player to the same standards and he forces the two groups to socialize with the other, and even arranges players from different groups to room together on their trip to Gettysburg College.
The players soon not only give in to the fact that each other are different but they began to bond with each other and form friendships. Louie Lastik, one of the players, comes from a family where education isn't emphasized, another player, Jerry "rev" Harris, loves to sing songs, while Julius Campbell is very quiet and reserved, even their quarterback, "Sunshine," is different from the players as he is more flamboyant that the others.
The diversity on the team goes far beyond race, as it does in our world, and no matter how diverse, the team conveys that everyone has a place and role to fulfill in order to achieve a common goal. Diversity is even necessary to a successful team, and as a country, in order to make progress, we need to embrace diversity, just as the Titans did.
Equal and same standards
Coach Boone establishes on that he will treat each player the same, he punishes each player equally for the action they commit, on and off the field. With equal consequences for each player, it forces the effort of the group to elevate as they don't want to face the consequences for mistakes.
As a society, we must all hold each other to the same standard, no matter who may commit the action. Without a mindset of equal standards, certain groups will always feel superior to the other.
An open mind opens doors.
The idea of tradition can be both healthy and unhealthy, as a time comes where being open to change is 100% necessary. Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell are prime examples of how embracing new opportunities can lead to great things, in their case a friendship in which they even become best friends.
Gerry has to overcome his girlfriend, his former best friend and even his families traditional values, which are all against him becoming friends with Julius, simply because of race. But fortunately Gerry overcomes the pressure which surrounds him and is able to have a great friendship with someone he never thought he would even socialize with.
It is the open mind, which enabled Julius and Gerry to become "brothers" on and off the field.
The timeless concept of a team.
The movie emphasizes how as individuals, there is no chance for success. However, being as a united group not only does it open the door for success, but it allows progress and encourages it.
A team should be building each other up, not breaking each other down, because once today's society comes together as a team, with a common goal, then, and only then will true progress be made. This is conveyed by the Titans as they must come together in order to grow as a team, however, growing as a team isn't all they achieved, they also enjoyed being together because of the idea that they were a family, with one common goal in mind.
That is what we must not forget, while there will always be those who don't accept change, if we can overcome hate as a team, with joy, then it is possible for the nation to succeed. In order to rich this, we must "Remember The Titans".