“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” - Jim Valvano

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Coach Herman Boone

             The movie "Remember the Titans" revolves around a school in Alexandria, Virginia that had to integrate the black and white students.  The Titans were the football team of T.C. Williams High School which at the beginning of the school year fired long time and successful (white) Bill Yoast, and hired Herman Boone, who was a black coach from North Carolina.  This brought up even more controversy then just the schools being integrated because many of the white players were upset that their coach had his job taken from him.  Because of this many of them said they would not play, causing Coach Yoast to become an assistant coach to Coach Boone, instead of taking another job.  The team had to overcome adversity because the black and white players did not get along.  It wasn't until Coach Boone took them to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where they went through a gruesome camp that helped unite them in the end.  Coach Boone did things such as having a white and black player room together. (Link to Coach Boone's Speech from Remember the Titans)  He also made each player find out certain information about the others so they could get know more about each other.  By the end of camp, both sides had reconciled their differences and realized that winning to them was more imporant than race.

                  Coach Boone came to SUNY Cortland and gave a speech about the movie, adversity, and the philosophies he believed then entailed being a successful coach.   Being an aspiring coach and a huge fan of the movie, when I first heard this I was so excited and pumped to go to this event.  I learned a lot from what he said and definitely will remember things he said in the future when I become a coach.  He had to overcome being a black coach in a pressurized white society.  He overcame adversity by uniting his multi-raced team and proving to the community that he was worthy of being head coach and that he knew what it truly meant to be a coach.  After his speech, students were allowed to come up and take pictures and get autographs with Coach Boone.  Of course I could not turn down this offer.  As a big fan of the movie I remember in the movie the play he calls at the end to win the championship game: "Fake 23 blast, with a backside George reverse".  So when I went up to shake his hand and get a picture with him, I asked him if that was the real play.  He said yes it was, and then drew it up for me, explained it, and signed it!  I was so pumped and excited that I called multiple people and bragged about it.  After a reporter saw what he had done for me and interviewed me about it. (Click link to read Cortland Standard's story with my interview at the end)  This was a definitely an experience I will never forget!

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