You Need to Watch This Movie with Your Family

When the Game Stands Tall

by Al Menconi, for

I just watched the most inspiring movie, When the Game Stands Tall, that I have seen in a long time.  It’s the true story of De La Salle, a Catholic high school in Northern California that won 151 games in a row.  But the story, rather than focusing on the winning streak, concentrates on the response of the team to its first loss in more than 12 years. 

After reading all the mediocre reviews from the major reviewers before I entered the theater this morning, I suspected that the film must be an incredible failure or contain a spiritual and/or inspirational message that secular reviewers could not tolerate.  It was clearly the latter.  The film supplies a wonderful inspirational message. 

The lessons from Scripture pepper this story in a way that isn’t contrived or corny.  Christianity and the Bible are treated with a respect that I haven’t seen in a secular film in years.  The lesson of the movie is clear: the streak itself is secondary.  Instead, the players are asked, How will you handle adversity after you graduate?  How will you be serving the community after football? 

My wife saw the movie trailer on TV and decided to join me this morning – a pleasant surprise.  I was eager to hear her response because I know how much she normally dislikes watching sports and especially sports movies.  As the movie was wrapping up, I saw her wiping her eyes and asked if she was crying.  Her response floored me: “I’ve been crying throughout the whole movie. I loved it.” I didn’t admit that I was in tears during the whole movie as well. 

We were sitting next to a group of about 30 teenage boys who play on the local school football team.   They were riveted to the story and understood the message. I’m certain that their coach was pleased that his boys learned, “It’s not about you; it’s about the team.” 

Bottom line – if my wife will sit through a sports movie and get caught up in the emotion of the message, it is indeed a special film.  It grabbed my attention from the opening scene. I couldn’t believe that the action on the field was rehearsed, for it appeared to be real game action.  The acting was first-rate, the story true and powerful, the message biblical: love your neighbor; think of others as more important than yourself. 

I strongly urge you and your whole family to see the movie this week – and don’t wait for the DVD. 


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