Monday, May 13, 2013

The Power Of "Hoop Dreams" Film In High School Curriculum

In the past 5 years in my Sports Marketing course we pretty much have developed a great ritual of watching the 1994 documentary film Hoop Dreams in the class. The classic tale of two Chicago high school basketball players seeking stardom facing  injuries,economic hardship,academic and the challenges of just growing up.

The film follows the two players through the 4 year odyssey of high school and their entrance into college in pursuit of the NBA. The story is a roller coaster of emotions and changing dynamics in the families of these players and also on the basketball court. As with any great film there are surprises and drama and engagement with the two main characters Arthur and William. Students attach themselves to the characters and can identify with their goals and perspectives.

It has become a timeless classic with my students as they have continued to stay engaged even in an age when there is so many potential distractions such as the web,games or apps. Of course I always have the students who jump on their phones or the web and google the players to find out their current situations and realities but these kids still stay engaged through the entire film. The film introduces students to the benefits of serious and critical inquiry with the medium of film.

No other film captures the imagination of students and keeps them following the story without distraction. The film also presents an opportunity to ask students hard questions about economic hardship,education inequality and racial issues. Check out the film below. I have embedded the film form youtube.