March 29, 2008

Sweet Sixteen and Man-Making

With the NCAA, Sweet Sixteen Basketball tournament building up to an exciting conclusion, I’m reminded about how powerfully team membership and the direction of a solid coach can positively shape boys into good men.

Seeing these young men playing their hearts out and knowing that behind each kid is a story of personal triumph reminds me of the film Coach Carter. In the film, coach Carter is played by Samuel L. Jackson who does a great job of portraying the fierce high school basketball coach who requires his players sign written contracts in order to play. The guys have to agree to respectful behavior, a dress code, and maintaining good grades to stay on the team. When the team’s grades dropped below the contract level, he benches the whole undefeated team, locking up the gym and even missing critical games. In the face of an angry mob of parents and school officials, he stands his ground and holds on to his values about the importance of education for his players.

Coach Carter and many films like it point us all to a powerful lesson about men being man-makers of boys that is still very relevant today. The film is based on the true story of Ken Carter who, in 1999, was a sporting goods store owner that took on the job of basketball coach for his old high school in a poor area of Richmond, CA.

Have you had an experience like that on a team? What lessons did you learn?

Do you have a favorite film about how being on a team with a good coach can turn young males into young men with self-respect and strong and positive values?

I have listed some films for young guys on the resources page of the Man-Making website, but I’d like to hear about your favorites. You can post them in the comments section of this post or send them to me and I’ll add them to the blog and website.


  1. Jesse V.8:53 PM

    We just watched 'Second Hand Lions'. A children's movie with both laughter and a serious side about a boy becoming a man. Loved it!

  2. I've received a few additional suggestions for inspirational films that might be of interest to guys. They include: Pride, Road to Glory, and We Are Marshall.

  3. David9:39 AM

    I loved Hoop Dreams. Here is the write-up:
    Hoop Dreams; 1994
    This documentary follows two inner-city Chicago residents, Arthur Agee and William Gates, as they follow their dreams of becoming basketball superstars. Beginning at the start of their high school years, and ending almost 5 years later, as they start college, we watch the boys mature into men, still retaining their "Hoop Dreams".

  4. One of my all-time favorite movies is "Hoosiers" (1986). It's the classic David beats Goliath story. The young men on the fictional Hickory, Indiana basketball team overcame all odds to beat the big city school and win the state championship. It is based on the 1954 Milan, Indiana true story and how they really won the championship.

    There are a lot of great lessons in both the movie and the real story about teamwork, overcoming adversity and accomplishing your goals, to name just a few.

    One of my favorite facts about the real story is nine out of the twelve players went on the graduate from college.

    Here's a great website about "The Greatest Basketball Story Ever Told" where you can learn "The rest of the story.”


Your response to this blog post is appreciated and welcome.