Recently I was given the opportunity to preview an Academy Award nominated documentary. I had never heard of it but the story drew me in.
A perennial whipping boy, in recent decades Manassas had gone so far as to sell their home games to the highest bidder, but that all changed in the spring of 2004 when Bill Courtney, a former high school football coach turned lumber salesman, volunteered to lend a hand.
When he arrived, the team consisted of 17 players, some timeworn equipment and a patch of grass masquerading as a practice field.
Focusing more on winning young men than football games, the football program nevertheless began resurrecting itself and, in 2009, features the most talented team Manassas has ever fielded; a team that seems poised to end the playoff jinx that has plagued the school since time immemorial.
A coming-of-age documentary film, Undefeated provides audiences an intimate view of an underprivileged group of teens and their inspirational coach, as they attempt to make history.
My husband and I watched it together Wednesday evening. While he is a huge football fan, I am not. I wasn't sure how into the movie I would be. I was surprised at how the personal stories of the young men on the team drew me in. I found that this was not actually a movie about football at all. Instead it is a movie about this team, the coach that taught them that "the character of a man is not measured by how he handles his wins, but by what he does with his failures". It was truly inspiring to see the effect that those coaches had on their team, and how those young men's lives were changed forever by them.
"Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." - 1 Corinthians 9:25