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The Heart of the Game

2005, Sports  -   2 Comments
Ratings: 7.20/10 from 5 users.

The Heart of the GameThis fascinating documentary, reportedly filmed over seven years, focuses on Bill Resler, a University of Washington economics professor whose abiding interest in sports compels him to moonlight as coach for a girls' high school basketball team. Gradually, the energetic coach turns Roosevelt High's perennially losing Roughriders into tournament contenders, mostly by treating his players as if they were males and driving them relentlessly.

Resler comes off as an intimidating figure -- at one point he urges the girls, "Sink your teeth in their necks! Draw blood!" -- but he genuinely cares for his youthful charges. The film shifts its focus in the second half to Darnella Russell, a gifted African-American player (one of the team's few) who sees basketball as her best chance for a college scholarship.

Her self-destructive behavior and violent temper get in the way, and even Resler's support isn't enough to keep her on track. This part of the story generates unexpected drama and suspense, and makes an already compelling movie positively riveting. You don't have to be a hoops fanatic to find entertainment in this film: There's plenty of "game," but even more "heart"...

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2 Comments / User Reviews

  1. dontbeblindbywatchusee

    Bill Resler is/was not an economics professor as you have reported in your story summary above. Rather, he taught/teaches taxation as well as an occasional accounting class at the University of Washington's Seattle campus. I am one of Bill's "tax children" (class of '87) and have known him since I was in the first class he taught at the University of Washington in 1985.

    I also was at all of the games depcited in the movie Heart of teh Game (great job, Ward!). It is a great story of triump in ways beyond that which the movie cannot possibly explain. Bill has changed many lives as a teacher in college. He is a powerful and carismatic speaker, who encourages students to follow thier own interests towards being the best that they can be, much like he did with the Roosevelt Girls Basketball team over the years.

    I owe Bill a lot of gratitude. Today, I am a lawyer with a Masters in Laws degered in Taxation, thanks to Bill.

    I wish I had said this years ago.

  2. Dirty Pierre

    Great story.

    The girls came together and triumphed on many levels.