DVD Review: The Heart of the Game (2006).
Leadership, not high school girls' basketball, stood at the heart of this game.
Showing uncommon diligence, these documentary filmmakers recorded the progress of a Seattle area girls' basketball team over several years, much like Hoop Dreams. While players filtered through the program, the one constant was coach Bill Resler.
Resler did not draw heavily on a background of his own sports glory. Rather, Resler taught tax at a local college, and was drawn to the game because his daughter played as a youngster.
Resler's a rare combination of bravado and humility.
On the humble side, Resler admitted when he accepted the job he feared his new responsibities because people now relied on him. For bravado, Resler didn't seem consumed with a fear that people would find his unorthodox methods, well, unorthodox.
For example, Resler eschewed any formal offense. He preferred instead just to run the other team into oblivion.
More unconventionally and importantly, however, Resler adopted and sold a theme each year to his charges. One year he had them believing and behaving like "wolves," who would stalk their prey and devour them. On the printed page, or if told second-hand, most would either roll their eyes or scoff at the absurdity.
To the contrary, Resler had the uncommon ability to inspire his team into believing, and then doing. If it weren't so effective, it might have been laughable when coach Resler screamed from the sideline during one playoff game--"Look into their eyes"--like wolves do right before a kill.
I enjoyed The Heart of the Game because it illustrates one following his passion and then inspiring others to do likewise. However, the movie is almost entirely story-driven, because its production values are so low they might be rejected for public access cable.
The Heart of the Game receives a B.