The 2016 film, Remember the Goal, is all about running track.
Well, actually, I guess it’s not all about running track. It’s also about the importance of teamwork. It’s also about the importance of remaining humble, respecting authority, and doing what your coach tells you to do. In short, it’s a film that makes me happy that I wasn’t on the track team in high school. I’m not really a fan of authority or doing what other people tell me to do. For that matter, I’m not really much of a team person. I’m an individualist who enjoys being around other individualists. I’m a big believer that people can work together while still allowing everyone to do their own thing and at their own pace.
In short, Coach Courtney Smith-Donnelly (Allee Sutton Hethcoat) would probably not want me on her track team and that’s okay. Though I will say that, a few years ago, I took up running because I was told that it might help to ease my asthma and it totally has. I start nearly every morning with a good run. I enjoy running. It helps me to clear my head and get my thoughts in order. Plus, it keeps my legs looking good.
But anyway, back to the film.
Courtney is the new coach at the local Christian school. Unfortunately, her coaching techniques prove to be controversial. She wants the members of the track team to pace themselves and to only run at a certain tempo, even if it means losing the race. Courtney is trying to teach the team how to conserve their energy so that they’ll still have it when they get to State. All of the parents, though, are upset because they want their daughters to win every race instead of spending all of their time preparing for the state competition. They’re also not happy when Courtney starts tells them that they need to stop putting so much pressure on their children and instead just have faith in Courtney’s plans.
Meanwhile, the five girls on the team all deal with typical high school problems. One of them likes a guy but her father has forbidden her from dating and, since this is a Christian film, she decides to honor her father’s wishes. Another girl has just started smoking weed and, when confronted about it, she replies (quite correctly) that the Bible doesn’t say anything about smoking. She also points out that most teenagers her age are experimenting with new things. “An alcoholic starts with just one drink!” her friend replies, “A drug addict starts with just one joint!” Uhmmm, that’s not really true but it’s enough to get her friend to give up the weed with roots in Hell.
This is another Dave Christiano film that takes a popular genre — in this case, a sports movie — and uses it to push a faith-based message. The coach continually quotes Corinthians and the end of the film literally compares coaching a cross country team to Jesus raising the dead. It’s a bit much, even if it’s not quite as preachy as his earlier films. (No one is condemned to Hell in this film, for example.) Christiano makes the unfortunate decision to have the final race play out in slow motion. That’s several minutes of nonstop slow motion. Unfortunately, slow motion and running are not a great combination, especially when some members of the cast are obviously more experienced runners than others.
Anyway, the main message here (beyond the religious one) seems to be that there’s no “self” in team. What fun is that, though? I’ll keep running for myself.