The football team of Manassas High School from North Memphis had an incredible 2009 season. Up until a few seasons before they had losing season after losing season. Then a man volunteered to coach the team and changed everything. Bill Courtney teaches these young men from impoverished areas of inner city Memphis how to win. The team goes on to compete against teams with much bigger budgets and holds their own. Now you might be thinking that this in no big thing, but reserve judgment for just a tiny bit.
Through teaching these young football players how to be a better team Coach Bill really teaches then how to be better people. Thinking of the team first is something he really has to pound into these guys. Once the lesson is learned along with discipline and character it becomes an undefeatable combination.
Coach Bill really is an amazing man himself. You see how much he cares and what he cares about is the boys and them taking a winning attitude into life. He thinks beyond the football field. Much sacrifice is made by Bill for his football team. His own family suffers due to the time he spends on football. He knows that if he teaches them certain values that his players will be more able to get themselves out of the poverty and criminal environment that is all around them. He finds some potential stars and builds his team around them.
Focus is laid upon three of the players. One is a young guy who returns to school to complete his junior year after spending a 15 month stint behind bars. We never learn why he went to jail as a juvenile and it isn’t important really. His temper might be his downfall though and Coach Bill has to work hard to keep him focused. The next is a player who was injured early in the season and we go through his struggle to stay on the right path and rehab so he can be ready for playoffs. The third is a player with incredible ability that might be able to go to university on a college scholarship, the only thing holding him back is his grades. He has to work hard to get them up to have a chance.
It is rather great that the team does not actually have an undefeated season. You’ll go into it thinking it is one thing (a football film) and discover to your delight that it is another thing completely. The importance is their struggle to be good citizens and football is what teaches them this in a weird way. Several moments in the film are truly moving and will have even the hardest hearts with tears in their eyes. This is what attracted people to the film and earned it last year’s Oscar for Best Documentary.
All of Coach Bill’s players were changed after this season due to the values that he instilled in them and so will anyone who watches this documentary.
-Black & White Teaser Trailer