A few weeks ago, Matt randomly opened an email from one of our local running stores, Big River Running, inviting him to a sneak peak of a new running-inspired Disney movie. Since he is a cross country and track coach, they were offering him the first grab at the (free) tickets to the sneak peak of the movie. We don’t go to movies often, but we were intrigued and could use a date night. After watching the trailer, we were sold and knew we just HAD to see this movie.
Because I can’t nearly give as good of a synopsis as Disney, here is what McFarland, USA is all about:
Inspired by the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.
I left the theater with tear streaked cheeks and inspired. It made me feel that I could do amazing things with my life if I just put my mind to it. That if I work hard and am determined, I can achieve anything.
I loved this movie as a runner, for obvious reasons. It’s a movie about running – specifically about cross country, a sport that I love. I loved watching their training and their give-it-everything-you’ve-got determination. It made me want to go out a run as hard and fast I can. And it had me itching to race again.
But, most of all, I loved this movie as a coach. It really opened my eyes to see the potential in every single athlete. That even the athlete who is there to round out the team can do great things when they put their mind to it. It made me want to take a group of mediocre athletes and make them great. It made me want to really want to be the greatest coach I can possibly be. And really, it made me want to show every single high school athlete this movie, regardless if they are a runner or not, to show them that hard work and determination can pay off in the long run (no pun intended).
McFarland, USA opens up TODAY. If you are a runner or a coach, I strongly encourage you to go see this movie and then show it to every athlete in your life. I am not being paid to say any of this at all – I just really really enjoyed this movie. Every time Matt and I see the trailer on TV, we get all teary-eyed just thinking about the movie. We will definitely be adding this one to our very small movie collection, and as coaches, our athletes will be watching it every single season!
And because I couldn’t have a post without any pictures (we had to turn OFF our phones during the movie and there were people from Disney who literally had to stand there the entire movie to watch US and make sure we didn’t take out our phones), here’s a picture of Miles…