The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America




This emotionally rich film won the best documentary Academy Award in 2011. Director Dan Lindsay gives center stage to Bill Courtney, who for six losing seasons has served as a volunteer coach for the Manassas High School football team in the inner city of Memphis, Tenn. The enthusiastic leader excels at giving inspirational speeches to his players, who seem at first to lack the drive and determination to become winners. Courtney wants his players to keep in mind the three qualities shared by successful teams: character, discipline and a willingness to sacrifice individual needs for team solidarity.

Just when Manassas starts winning a few games, more challenges crop up for the coach. One student's grades plummet; another is injured on the field; a third has an anger management problem. Courtney's caring coaching style shows itself vividly at work with these three players. He is an inspiring model of leadership and the kind of moral mentor needed by youth today (Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Co., PG-13—some language). Now on DVD.


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February issue


Embracing diversity