Undefeated (and a turtle) defeat The Affair

My wife and I put the nix on the first season of The Affair-- despite the good acting, the show is SLOW-- so after seven rather repetitive episodes, we mailed it back to Netflix and instead watched the documentary Undefeated (Netflix streaming) which tells the story of the Manassas Tigers-- an inner city football team with typical inner city struggles . . . single parents, jail, gangs, violence, poverty, lack of funding, and general apathy towards school-- and the volunteer coach Bill Courtney and his volunteer assistants-- white men from the rich suburbs of Memphis-- and how they build relationships with these predominantly African-American kids and eventually cobble together an excellent team that goes to the play-offs . . . it's just as cliche and inspirational and tear-inducing as Friday Night Lights and Remember the Titans and Rudy and The Blind Side, but there's a much stronger dose of reality (as there should be, as it's a documentary) and there's also an undersized lineman named Money talking about his pet tortoise, which he pulls from a large metal bucket in the yard of his tiny house; his description of the turtle is poetic and metaphorical: "just look at the texture of him . . . on the outside everybody wants to be hard and show their strength, but on the inside it's like they're all flimsy, you know, skin and bones" and that's a lesson that he not only understands, but has to literally endure . . . you'll have to watch the film to find out how, and it's certainly a universal lesson that all football players grapple with, but despite the possibility of injury, letdown, and worse, this story makes a solid case for why we should keep playing football in America.

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