This essay will examine the theme of leadership in "Remember the Titans", a movie adaptation of the event in a school in Alexandria, Virginia, after a Supreme Court ruling to end racial segregation in 1971. At this period, a merger of three rival high schools led to a multiracial football team and coaching staff.
As tensions were high in Alexandria, Virginia. How blacks and white students will cope in the environment became a matter of importance. Having football as a necessary sport which the students admire so much, a black coach was hired by the school’s board which led to the beginning of the intergroup relation amongst sport active students.
With the activities of the coaches, Coach Boone, coach Yoast, the theme of leadership in "Remember the Titans" will be considered.
The school students exhibited their prejudice which is a result of hasty generalizations on the colored persons based on incomplete and mistaken information. Although racial differences have been predominant for centuries, for their course, the contact situation was deemed important. A situation that should not only necessitate interaction but should be a catalyst to collective success.
When Coach Herman Boone was hired, he realized that to achieve the football team’s success, an atmosphere with an emphasis on intergroup association and unity must be established. Acknowledging Coach Yoast, he met with him with integration objectives so that he can be his assistant Coach. At this, he'd envisaged that a white and black coach would be a great example of multiracial cooperation in the team.
Although Coach Yoast was first the head coach before Coach Boone took over, he accepted to be Coach Boone’s assistance after mild reluctance. This was shown when the players first met. The black players were already waiting at the set time. Coach Yoast came with the white players lined behind him. This was a big kick towards achieving a common goal of success and anti-discriminatory practices.
Coach Boone also realizes that each player must see themselves in equal status as this will ensure quality in the affairs of the students.
There was first a division of labor between the coaches. A trait which all leaders must master. The division of labor saw Coach Yoast handling the defense side while Coach Boone handled the offense side. Reference must be made here that both defense and offense have persons of mixed race.
At this stage, a 2-time American line breaker named Gerry Bertier exhibited his skills which eventually made him selected as captain. He also portrayed fascinating leadership qualities by asserting that sometimes, someone has to be let off the hook to permit progress and cooperation.
Coach Boone is a terrific leader: highly charismatic, fierce, self-confident, he is full of vision, and he remained very sensitive to his environment throughout the movie. He was also intellectually stimulating as he gave motivational statements in a subtle but firm way. He ensured that each player works towards the common goal of winning the state’s trophy.
Coach Boone as a leader set standards and exerted authority. In the vision of ensuring equal status, he did something exemplary when the players were about to board a bus to Gettysburg College.
The players had first boarded the 2 buses based on race. The whites on the first bus while the blacks in the second. However, Coach Boone instructed them to exit the buses and divided passengers of 2 buses into offense and defense teams. As both teams are multiracial, whites were made to sit with blacks and vice versa.
Further, Coach Boone, in a bid to foster cooperation between these 2 racial groups, commanded that seat partners would be roommates. As expected, a fight erupted even in the dining where they were to eat as whites and blacks classified themselves.
However, Coach Boone made a 3 AM run in the woods in the rural of Pennsylvania. This is a form of punishment to ensure that the players take responsibility for not respecting themselves. During this run, the Titans ran through the Battle of Gettysburg site where Coach Boone encouraged them to take a lesson from the dead.
By this, he meant that fighting opponents brings nothing but defeat and death. Why fight and die when you can stay alive and live together? A leader teaches lessons with every medium that can impact morals.
It is essential to note the flexibility of Sunshine amongst the players. With his coming, he acted indifferent amongst persons of different races. He danced and sang with black teammates which eventually fostered the establishment of a connection amongst multiracial characters in the movie.
At this, with Coach Boone's emphasis on the importance of respect for everyone and not necessarily love established authority and rules which were meant to be protected. With the bonding of Julius, a black man, and Gerry, a white, players were motivated. This motivation assisted them and reminded them of victory through respect in order to realize the purpose the football team was created. A purpose to win the 1971 Virginia State sports trophy.
When the school resumed, having parents disgusted at Coach Boone, they were still alarmed at how well he survived the camp at Gettysburg. A brick was thrown at his window, and he was greeted with disgusts many times, but he failed to resign. Coach Boone was focused and unwavering, a trait which spoke for Boone amid the threats.
His dedication to the team was part of the remarkable things that happened in the movie. Reference must be maid to Coach Yoast too, his assistant Coach who was more democratic and diplomatic.
Coach Yoast settled rife between players by meeting them individually. This permitted individual bonding with each. Also, Gerry acknowledges the need for collaborative work. He realizes that the team was better off without Ray Budds hence, as a team leader, he had to release him in order to permit team growth and progress.
It is also important to know that being a leader is characterized by giving sound motivation to followers. Coach Boone motivated the team at the opening of the movie by saying that change is what they have to do. He emphasized that they have to change the way they run; the way they eat; the way they block; and the way they tackle. They have to change even the way they win!
This and many others were done in a bid to pass on a spirit of desire, a desire that only victory could satisfy. This positive vitality in them took them the long path of excelling in the games.
It is important to note that Coach Boone used both the authoritative leadership style and the motivational style. When he screamed: “this is no democracy. It is a dictatorship. I am the law.” He exerted an influence which he further instilled by snapping at Gerry Bertier when he tried to arrogantly dictate spots white players will stay to Boone. Coach Boone responded by saying that the team is his team, and he is the alpha.
These many instances show that he is after the result and it must be achieved by cooperation through respect. When he paired up multiracial roommates, he ensured that each player writes a writeup about their roommates without which a three times a day or four times a day practices will be compulsory. He raged against racism with this idea and he won.
With his supply of courage, he promoted unity and changed their idea of themselves. He portrayed principles for excellence even in an improper society. He achieved victory for the team in the Virginia state 1971 championship, and he brought unity into the environment. This was his ultimate goal as a leader.
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