When the Game Stands Tall definitely gets a thumbs-up from me!

This family appropriate movie based on the true story of California’s De La Salle High School Spartans, celebrates the love within a brotherhood.  This football team is a family, and love means you can count on your brother.   Love extends beyond blood relations.  Family is anyone who loves you unconditionally.

With a winning streak of 11 years, and 151-games, it’s hard not to rest on your laurels.  The incoming students tend to be more complacent, counting on the winning streak and stronger members to carry them.   Some are so focused on the streak they can’t see beyond it.  There are plenty of opportunities for growth here.

Coach Bob Ladouceur advises the team to give the perfect effort.  You pick a goal that requires you to stretch your abilities, and then give a perfect effort.  I love how quiet spoken Jim Caviezel is throughout the movie.  (Here’s hoping the theater is quiet so you can actually hear everything he says.) He brings a sense of peace, and calm.  And his commitment cards are something we should all consider. 


That winning streak can leave you feeling confident, invincible, and on coast mode.  So what do you do when you lose that game that ends the streak?   What happens when your family dies and you are left alone?  What do you do when your health fails you, and consequences of your actions catch up to you?  What happens when pride has gotten in the way?

Feeling alone, and lost, we know that God has reasons that we are “not privy to.”  When you find your morale down, don’t let the game define who you are, let your life to do that.   Coach Bob takes the team to experience another kind of brotherhood.  They travel to volunteer at the VA.  In working with the Vets that day, the team gains humility, and a new understanding of what it means to be dependable in your position in life. 

The message is applicable to all of us:  Don’t get lost in the hype, celebrity and glory.  Don’t succumb to the pressure to keep up a winning streak.  It’s not about the streak; it’s about giving that perfect effort while stretching your abilities.  Along the way, keep your virtues intact, and be that person that others can count on.  Extend your ability to love.

 As a mom, I love the message of purity and commitment.  I know this film feels a little preachy (as does this review), but that’s something I count on.  I need reminders, and I don’t mind it being blatant.  Sometimes we need it spelled out.  

Copyright 2014, Marya Jauregui