Sample Essay

Gerry Bertier

The differences in culture within the team were apparent from the outset. During one of the first training sessions, a black team mate, Julius, gets confronted by Gerry, the white captain (played by Ryan Hurst) about how his play is selfish and not good for the team, terming him a “waste of God gifted talent” (Yakin, 2000). The black team mate retorts with an ‘Attitude reflects the leadership, Captain’, citing other white team members with the same discrepancies that apparently did not bother the captain. This scene accurately “emphasizes the importance of seeking feedback from the juniors who work with you directly” (Jnagal, 2008). It addresses one key aspect of a great leader, in his ability to accept changes and adapt to criticism. Gerry and Julius end up becoming close partners for games to come, due to the rigorous racial cleansing efforts of Coach Boone, leading the team by example. This instills in the team an organizational culture that sets a few targets within their minds pertaining to the goals required of them, that is, winning the games ahead. The team thus manages to win the State Championship even after losing Gerry to an accident which renders him paralyzed from the waist down. Such is the importance of building a good relationship with your subservient.

Coach Boone

Arguably the most potent figure in the movie, serves his role as the leader well. The community at large, predominantly white, was not pleased with his new designation but the black community was. “I’m not your savior or Martin Luther king … I’m just a football coach” (Yakin, 2000) was his response, clarifying his commitment to the sport and the task to follow. He sets out a clear direction for the team, omitting differences in appearance and valuing each player strictly for their skills and nothing but. Terming himself as the dictator was a great strategy, since that enables him to shift the team’s focus on him and not their interpersonal scuffles.

Boone then goes about the training exercise, laying down strict rules in the process, breach of which would wreak dire consequences. At first instance, he made the team members wear a shirt and a tie to the training camp players who did not comply were to be benched. Subjecting the players to meticulous physical exercises, at one instance waking them up at 3am to go running, shows how Boone chose to stick to his plan even when faced with criticisms from Yoast who suggested he was pushing them too hard; “There’s a fine line between tough and crazy and you’re flirting with it,”  (Yakin, 2000). This may produce good results in a sports setting but Boone’s approach may not be beneficial otherwise in the real world since there was clearly no attempt by him to build a relationship with his employees before demanding them to complete strenuous tasks.

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