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When the tinge of cold air hits, our brain, especially in Indiana, starts processing basketball thoughts.
So on a cozy fall night, I celebrated the way a relatively new Hoosier should. I popped “Hoosiers” into the DVD player.
After moving to Indiana, I thought it was only natural I purchase a copy of the movie in case the topic came up. No self-respecting sports editor would be without one.
Besides, I always have loved the movie. It’s about all the good things we dream about. Respect, hard work, discipline, the underdogs rising to the challenge. And I first lived in Montgomery County, where a lot of the movie was filmed, such as the opening scene that was shot just outside Crawfordsville, and where they used New Richmond as the fictional town of Hickory.
Maybe I shouldn’t have watched it for a 42nd time.
Those lame parts of a movie — and every film has them — started rising to the top and, well, they bug me.
For instance, not once, but twice in the movie, one of coach Norman Dale’s players slugged an opposing player during the game and not very much was made of it.
We’re told Dale is a former Ithaca coach who received a lifetime college coaching ban for hitting one of his players. He actually set the first act of violence in motion at Hickory by slapping an opposing player’s hand away.
You would think Dale would go to any length to avoid physical contact with a player. And once one of his players did slug another kid, you would expect him to, at the very least, suspend that player.
What would we be thinking here in Columbus if one of Jason Speer’s North players cold-cocked an opponent with a punch, and there was no heck to pay? I guarantee you that, with Jeff Hester in charge as athletics director, there would immediately be repercussions.
Of course, we are fortunate here because our high school coaches, such as Speer, value integrity. One thing you hear often in Columbus is coaches talking about building men and women, future citizens, and not just basketball players. Perhaps those things don’t make for a very good movie.
But I am talking about a movie, so I guess a little violence was to be expected.
Well, let’s move on to this whole “Shooter” thing. Dale goes to the town drunk, Shooter Flatch, and offers him the job as assistant coach.
Does that bother anyone?
Sure, he is trying a reclamation project. How did that turn out? The guy was found out in the snow, presumably trying to kill himself.
Besides that, how would you feel if East coach Brent Chitty hired a drunk to coach your kids? He didn’t ask anyone either, the guy just showed up, during a game no less, with the shakes.
OK, that’s believable. I’m sure the principal wouldn’t have anything to say.
Other stuff irked me as well. Did anyone notice that 90 percent of the town’s residents were complete jerks? They wanted to tell the local basketball coach how to do his job and when things didn’t turn out the way they wanted ... with six players on the roster no less ... they tried to fire the coach at a town hall meeting.
Then they lacked any integrity at all by changing their vote to fire Coach Dale when the best player in town (Jimmy Chitwood) said he would only join the team if they kept the coach. Idiots.
A love story?
The one single 40-something-year-old female in town, Myra Fleener, hated the site of this old guy who had come to town to run away from his problems. This was a woman who basically wanted to spit on him every time he passed.
Then for no apparent reason, we were led to believe the two would be the next big item. Oh brother, if it only was that easy. No dinners, no flowers, no conversation. Where do I sign up for that dating site?
OK, I’ve got to stop thinking so much. It’s a movie. I guess I didn’t have any problem believing 5-foot-7 Tom Cruise was a one-man wrecking machine in “The Last Samurai.”
Next thing you know, I’ll be wondering why we loved Rocky when he was a leg-breaker for a loan shark.
Jay Heater is the Republic sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 379-5632.
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