More Than A Game by Taylor Powell

Little Rascle by Yuliya Stolbova


More Than A Game by Taylor Powell

The world of sports can teach us a lot about life. Teamwork, overcoming adversity, and
learning from those who have gone before are just a few of the simple comparisons between life
and game. But there are times when it becomes more than a game, not because of the fierce
competition or heated tempers, but because of the impact it can have on a community. “We Are
Marshall”, a film directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol (McG), is a prime example of how the
game of football can mean so much more. Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox star in this
amazing true story of overcoming pain and adversity and defying all odds.

 Marshall University sits on the riverbanks in the town of Huntington, West Virginia. This
is a film that dives into the community of Huntington and reveals what it was like to live in the
community in 1970, the year that marked one of the most painful accidents a community can
face. On November 14, 1970, the Marshall University Thundering Herd was traveling home
from a tough loss on the football field. Tragedy suddenly strikes and the team loses all but four
members to an unexpected disaster. The remaining players push to continue the football program
the following fall, and rally around a new football staff. The team and community fight through
blood, sweat, and tears as they struggle with their loss, but in the end, all are able to draw
strength through one another on and off the field.

 McConaughey does a superb job of playing the role of Jack Lengyel, the newly hired
coach who is a down to earth, honest, humorous, and bizarre football coach charged with continuing a football program that just experienced one of the worst tragedies in sports. Jack
approaches with the attitude of “maybe I can help” and is able to round up a coaching staff with
the help of Red Dawson, former assistant coach played by Matthew Fox. Red brings the
recruiting experience needed to help sign enough players to have a team. As the season
approaches, and as the players start actually practicing, the pain and the hurt is constantly being
thrown into the community’s face. Was it the right move to continue the program so soon?
Should they cancel the program altogether? The “Matthew Duo” excels and their chemistry
works extremely well as Jack and Red fight through the suffering of the hurting community and
are able to give honor and respect to past players with every game acting as a stepping stone to
becoming a football program that can truly do what it is supposed to, win football games.

One scene that stands out is when Jack offers Red Dawson to be the assistant coach. Jack
approaches Red as he is building a shed. Red explains that he was hired two years earlier to be in
charge of recruiting. He explains to Jack that he went out that summer and got twenty kids to
commit. He visited with twenty families and told those families he would take care of their boys.
All twenty of those boys died, and Red doesn’t feel he can ever do that job again. As he is
finishing the discussion a train is heard nearby. This train had derailed just last winter. Jack asks
“Is that the Ohio Valley Coal Line, the same one that went off the tracks, near Akron last
winter?” Red replied, “Yep, that’s the one.” Jack gets a bit of a smile as he realizes how he can
get his point across. He quietly says, “Back on Track”. This really is one of the turning points of
the show as it ultimately leads to Red returning to Jack and accepting his offer. The train offered
a perfect example of what the football team needed to do. They needed to get “back on track.”

The soundtrack to this film is unbelievably good as it stirs up emotions within. Whether it
be the brass instruments of the schools marching band roaring as the final pass is being thrown, or the slow softness as the accident is being attended to, there is sure to be some kind of
reflection inside. There is a wonderful combination of slow motion scenes, dramatized with
silence, creating an almost eerie feeling as you watch the events transpire. There are also a
couple of scenes that include actual footage of the accident, which works excellent to bring the
realization of what happened. They do an excellent job of staying with the trends of the late
sixties, early seventies- afros, bell bottoms and plaid, everywhere.
 This is a film that really is worth watching, even if you’re not a sports fan. There is a
lesson everyone can learn on overcoming unsurmountable obstacles and becoming closer as a
community. It really is more than just a game.