McFarland, USA Warms Hearts and Lifts Spirits

Nikki Lyssy

If you are looking for a movie that makes you want to be a better person and help out your community, McFarland, Usa is the perfect film to watch. When I first heard of the film starring Kevin Costner, I had no idea what to expect. I vaguely remember seeing a preview at some point last year, but couldn’t recall anything that made the movie jump out at me. However, on Friday night, when I needed something fun to do with my twin Kendal and our grandmother, “McFarland” came calling.

The movie is based on a true story of strength, courage and faith. Set in 1987 in a predominantly Latino community, football coach Jim White (Costner), his wife, and two daughters move to McFarland in California, after Jim was let go from his previous job. At first, the family is suspicious of the poverty-stricken town and its residents. However, things start to change when White notices his students sprinting through the cabbage fields at the end of each school day on their way home. Running is their main mode of transportation since cars are a luxury that can’t be afforded. Realizing his team has no interest in football, the coach decides to try his hand at coaching cross country and turns seven bitter boys into the finest team McFarland has ever seen. Before long they’re running for the State Title. Along the way, White begins to learn about the Hispanic culture, taking the time to dine with his students’ families and pick in the fields with them to experience what they do each and every day. He is able to successfully take a community rooted in poverty and change lives for the better.

This movie spoke to me in a way I never imagined. To think that one person can have such a huge impact and set off a chain reaction of people helping people is truly heartwarming, and this movie reminded me that, if given the chance to fight, people can come out on top and beat all odds to achieve their goals. These boys went from thinking they would spend their whole lives working in the fields to participating in a sport they grew to love. This film reminded me that anything is possible with hard work and good people guiding us along the path.