Sports & Film – Coach Carter
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1. WHAT IS THE OVERALL THEME OF THE MOVIE?
The movie’s theme is, with the combination of education and good decisions, and not the environment or athletics, is the way out of inner city life. Good choices make a man’s character.
2. IDENTIFY THE MAIN CHARACTER, HIS/HER ROLE AND HIS/HER IMPACT AND CONNECTION TO THE THEME.
The main character is Coach Ken Carter. Carter pushes his student athletes to strive in education rather then solely depending on basketball. By locking up their gymnasium and canceling games, Coach Carter shows how serious education is, rather than numbers on the court, making the students better their grades in order to play.
3. WHAT IS THE SPORT ISSUE? HOW HAS THIS ISSUE BEEN SEEN IN THE REAL SPORTING WORLD?
The sports issue is that there are many student athletes who solely depend on sports, rather than getting a proper education. Some student athletes fail to realize the actual chances of getting sports scholarships or being drafted, and how many of those players drafted actually receive a long-term contract. Having a proper and good education is a cushion for the not-so-lucky athletes.
This issue has been apparent in the NBA for awhile now, mostly high draft players with high expectations, which ended up as “busts” (careers ending early or just poor statistics overall). Dajuan Wagner, for example, the 6th pick overall in the 2002 draft, only played in 103 games in the course of 3 seasons.
4. IS THIS A TRUE STORY? IF YES, COMPARE THE FILM TO REAL LIFE EVENTS (WHAT HAPPENED, WHAT WAS THE AFTERMATH, ETC.) IF NO, THEN HOW DO WE SEE THIS ISSUE IN TODAY’S SPORTING WORLD?
Coach Carter is based on actual events in the 1998-1999 high-school basketball season in Richmond, California. The real Ken Carter headlined news when he locked out his then undefeated Varsity squad, in order to push them to improve their grades. Carter not only closed the Richmond High School gym, but he banned all basketball-related activities and was prepared to cancel the entire season program, because 15 of the 45 players were not living up to the classroom achievements they agreed to meet in contracts they signed earlier in the semester. The lock out lasted for eight days and the Varsity squad finished with a 19-5 record, after being defeated in the second round of the state tournament. Many of the players did move on to college. Wayne Oliver, who graduated in 1999, went to Cameron University in Oklahoma. Two other players were going to U.C. Berkley and UNLV. Damien did attend West Point, but left to go to school on the West Coast.
5. HOW HAS THE MOVIE IMPACTED SOCIETY?
I believe Coach Carter shed more light on the real world, especially towards the younger audience. The chances of getting athletic scholarships or being drafted to a professional league is far smaller than everyone thinks. It is important to have a good education still, as you have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting drafted to the NBA.
Also, in 2005, a year after Coach Carter was released in theaters, the NBA implemented a new rule towards the draft, which requires athletes to now have attended at least one year of college and at least 19 years of age in order to be eligible. The film didn’t directly impact the NBA’s decision, but I believe it further emphasized education over athletics.
6. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THE FILM? IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU VIEWED IT? IF YES, WHAT DID YOU GET FROM IT? IF NO, WHAT MADE YOU WATCH IT AGAIN AND HOW DID YOU VIEW IT DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME?
This is one of the many times I have seen the film, since I’ve owned the DVD for awhile now. I chose to watch this film again because it is one of my favorite sports films. This time around, I attempted to find more relations between society today and the film.
_Coach Carter_. Dir. Thomas Carter.” Paramount Pictures: 2005, DVD.