Catch da Flava - Coach Carter

In 1999, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California to get the basketball team in shape. With tough rules and academic discipline, he succeeds in setting the players on a winning streak. But when their grades start to suffer, Carter locks them out of the gym and shuts down their championship season. When he is criticized by the players and their parents, he sticks to his guns, determined that they excel in class as well as on the court.

We had a discussion panel about the movie for Health Talks Youth Radio on March 5th which has a lot to do with with youth health. In those days, basketball was all those boys had so it was literally you're either in the gym or on the streets. Some points that we came across was that it was hard out there for the parents and the youth. Everybody had their own issues and dilemmas which didn't leave much room for "proper parenting". One can only imagine some of the emotional barriers they had to face. Coach Carter showed that tough love was necessary for them to understand it was time for them to become men. Back in those days if a man didn't have a plan he wouldn't have a future, and trying to get that message across to a group of men that age wasn't easy because they all thought that they already were men.

Coach Carter’s character is stubborn, big-hearted and tough. He came from a military background so there is a very low tolerance for nonsense, which made him the perfect man for the job and these boys had to find that out the hard way. Youth nowadays need to be reminded to respect their elders. When you have someone who moves to your city to teach you the right way, it should be respected. Our youth are very competitive when it comes to sports, and basketball is one of the most competitive. The coach can’t help but stress the importance of teamwork as he quotes "if one person struggles we all struggle".

There’s a scene where Coach Carter locks up the gym with a big chain and lock because the boys were failing their classes. When the parents find out, they were upset and telling the coach he had no right to do that and that he should remove the lock. Which was interesting because as a parent your main goal is to want your child to make something of himself and be somebody so why is it that when one person tries to incorporate that in with basketball, it becomes a problem? It really opens up the eyes of the viewers to all the talk and childish mindset most of these parents have. It shows that parents need to continue to be involved with their children’s teachers. It’s especially important because it can affect his or her mental health.

During a practice, Carter tells one of the trouble making students Cruz to give up because it is impossible to complete all of the push ups and suicides by Friday. When the day arrives, Cruz has not been able to finish but the team helps him by doing some of his push-ups and suicides, getting him back on the team. On a game day, Carter asks Cruz what his biggest fear is, and Cruz is confused by the question. What does that tell you? On air, we discussed how youth need to be aware of what real hard word looks like and the positive way it can create an impact.

We hope this has shed some light on some facts. We hope to continue to show our youth that we care.

By: Travis

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