Remember the Titans may be one of the most renowned American sports films. It is also remains one of the most significant. Similar to all sports movies, it follows the trials of the underdog and peoples’ vulnerabilities coming to a head. Sports, in this case football, have a way of speaking out against the issues plaguing the community. In this film, football was the tool to fight racism and discrimination.
Based on a true story, Remember the Titans follows a team in Alexandria, Virginia - a place where football is a way of life. In 1971, Alexandria had a recently integrated school system where Coach Boone, played by Denzel Washington, takes over the head position at the school. The white players originally refuse to play for a black coach, but former head coach and now assistant coach, Coach Yoast, played by Will Patton, drags them back to the game out of fear that missing a season will lead to no scholarships.
There is constantly the battle of race within the framework of the team, but also externally —within the town and when the team steps on the field to play opposing teams. Coach Boone teaches his players lessons beyond football, most importantly being the value of working together and respecting one another, regardless of their background.
Today the south is still deeply divisive, yet sports can continue to play a role of diplomacy within communities. Remember the Titans reminds us of the power of working together, showing and earning respect as well as the trials and benefits of hard work.