Every once in a while you watch a movie that leaves an impression. Or maybe it is because you are at a place in your life that you need to hear a certain message. Whatever the reason McFarland USA is one of those movies for me. (Warning spoiler alert if you haven’t watched it.)
Kevin Costner plays Jim White a football coach who moves to McFarland CA after being fired from his last job for throwing a shoe at a player. McFarland CA is one of the poorest communities in the US with a mainly Latino population. He is hired as a teacher and assistant football coach, but is quickly let go as the assistant coach. Left being a teacher only he has time to discover that some of the students are great long distance runners. He convinces the principal to let him start a cross-country team. The first for the school and first team from a poor none elite school.
The team quickly moves up the ranks and makes it to the state championships. He and his family also become more ingrained in the local community which for his wife and two girls starts to feel like home. Through all this one of the wealthier schools takes notice of what Coach White is doing and offers him a job. The job not only includes a great salary, but a house in a much nicer neighborhood.
Here comes the moral quandary of the show…does he take the job with the house and the money? Or, does he stay where he makes a real difference in not only the lives of the kids he coaches, but the community as a whole. Because we live in such a money, things, keeping up with the Joneses society I dare say that 90% of the people posed with this would choose option one. They would take the money, because that is where we now live…our self worth is tied to our big houses, new cars, and objects.
Coach White of course chooses option two. He chooses to money and things live a life with meaning not money. If he had chosen to leave no one would know his name, no one would remember his legacy, and so many lives would have gone unchanged. Imagine the ripple effect of that one choice…How many lives have been touched and changed by those original seven runners? How many others has the Coach given the confidence to live their lives with meaning?
So I guess my question to you is this…how do you want to be remembered? What is going to rule your life?