Gridiron Gang: Where Losers Become Winners


Sam Hopkins, Staff Writer

Stuck on my couch with a 101-degree temperature, I had a lot of time to pass. Out of natural habit, I turned on the TV and scanned the ever-so-addicting Netflix. Scrolling past most of the junk that Netflix features, I searched for a hidden gem. I settled for a sports classic titled Gridiron Gang. Unimpressed by the short summary Netflix offered, I expected another corny movie. Luckily for me, the first scene grabbed my attention, and I strapped in for a two hour classic.

Based at Camp Kilpatrick in California, parole officer Sean Porter (Dwayne Johnson) works with incoming delinquents, attempting to set them up for success after they have served their time. Having served as an officer for several years, Porter is exhausted and feels as if his work is pointless. Over the past few years, the statistics haven’t give him much encouragement. Over seventy-five percent of his teens end up dead or in jail after only a year of being released from the juvenile center. Porter is committed to changing these statistics; as the movie begins, however, he just doesn’t know where to start.

After weeks of wrestling with solutions to this problem, he settles on a new approach: football. Not only will this game bring the boys together as one, he reasons, it will teach them discipline and responsibility, vital skills that the young men will need to turn their lives around. With a little persistence and a lot of luck, Porter eventually lands his boys a chance to compete with other local high schools in weekly games. Now all that Porter has to do is teach them the game of football. Faced with a group of young men who know nothing other than a life of violence and crime, Porter’s job is to coach them to play a game of discipline and rule. God willing, Porter hopes to show these boys, who have been on a losing path, what winning feels like.

Released in 2006, Gridiron Gang has emerged as a sports classic providing a feel-good story for all viewers. Based on true events, director Phil Joanou develops a wide range of characters to keep all viewers interested. Dwayne Johnson does an excellent job conveying such emotion that the audience feels like part of the team. Not only does this movie entertain, it also helps viewers understand the circumstances that troubled teens face, and makes a credible argument for why everyone deserves a second chance.

Warning – Gridiron Gang contains strong language and racial overtones. Viewer discretion is advised.