Monday, January 16, 2006

For MLK Today

First of all, check out the Google homepage, but do it today. You know the special graphics are gone in 24 hours.

Second, check out Glory Road, the new movie about the Texas Western (now UT-El Paso) basketball team that fielded an all-black team at the 1966 NCAA finals, a first in NCAA Division 1 history. (Against a University of Kentucky team led by Pat Riley, no less.) Saw it Saturday and loved it. For once, winning the damn game wasn't the only thing the team was going for.

One of my favorite moments, having lived in West Texas for 6 years: As the new players from Gary, Chicago, and the South Bronx are rolling across the high plains in a bus, they muse over whether they're still on the earth. Yes, the landscape is that different, if you've never been there.

This is a great movie for sports fans and history buffs alike. Sometimes its easy for people to forget what was at stake during the Civil Rights era; Glory Road is a fine introduction to the period. All wrapped up in a rousing sports movie, which means basketball fans (this means you, Pepper Bro) will love it, too.

Is the movie a little corny (in standard sports-movie tradition)? Yes. But does work to the story's advantage? Yes. Take the family. Enjoy. And think a little.

And be sure to stick around for the credits--many of the real people portrayed in the film (including the coach, Don Haskins, several of his players, and Riley) talk about how it felt to experience the spectrum of victory, defeat, racism, and respect.


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