Last night, we went to an early screening of McFarland USA. Going into the movie, I didn’t know much about the film, except that it was a movie about running. Of course, with my passion for running, I was excited to see it. I have to say, however, this movie really exceeded my expectations! It was such an inspiring film and really reminded me that the human spirit is capable of such greatness. Against all odds, one can accomplish their goals, and this film, based on a true story, really highlighted that!
A few months ago, we found out that Allie’s P.E. grade was failing. It wasn’t because she isn’t capable, it was because she was unmotivated to even try. It was very frustrating for Mr. Bear and I. She’s a very athletic kid, so we were very surprised she wasn’t doing well in P.E.—of all subjects! Since that time, we’ve been trying to encourage her to put forth some effort and she’s actually enjoying herself. She has taken a liking for the weekly mile run. Because I am a runner, I’m excited about this newly discovered passion. Allie and I have had a friendly competition. I’m just coming back to running after a long hiatus. Each time I run, I share my time with Allie and she tries to beat it every week. She’s gone from a 17 minute mile to a 14 minute mile, to a 12 minute mile, to an 11 minute mile last week. Today, she runs the mile again. After seeing the movie last night, she’s swearing to beat her time and finish a sub-10 minute mile. We’ll be curious to see how she does today!
Back to the movie: McFarland USA
The setting of the movie is poor, rural McFarland, California, in the mid to late 1980’s. It’s based on the true story of 7 young, talented cross country runners and their coach. The movie chronicles the struggles these young athletes faced, in economically challenged McFarland, in the Central Valley of California. The novice runners spend their early hours, picking produce in the fields, like their immigrant parents. The difficulties these boys face seem insurmountable, when coach Jim White starts a cross country team to tap into their natural abilities.
The boys go from the fields, to school, back to the fields, and then to practice running with Coach White. These disadvantaged boys have the odds stacked against them in every way. They compete against other schools that have resources these boys couldn’t even dream of. Coach White and the team of 7 learn many lessons together and it really inspired me!
This movie really touched me. It was a really great family movie. There was laughter and tears throughout the movie. Mr. Bear caught me crying a few times. What I loved about the movie is that it was not only inspiring, but the humor was clean for the whole family. The movie was a tear-jerker and had me cheering for the underdogs the whole time.
I love the end of the movie the best! Without giving away any spoilers, at the end of the movie, you meet each of the “characters” in real life and get a glimpse into where life has taken them since their days at McFarland High School. What is most inspiring, is that nearly all of the runners went to college and then came back to McFarland to work and give back to their community. It’s truly an inspiration!