Hardball is a baseball movie that was released in 2001. It is about a gambler who coaches an inner-city Chicago baseball team. He does it in order to pay off his debts.
When he made enough money, he realizes he needs the kids as much as they need him. There are many themes found throughout the movie. There are few acts of exclusiveness throughout the movie. The little league they were in provided teams with jerseys and equipments. The teams who were predominately white or all white had brand new uniforms and equipment.
The jersey closely resembled MLB jersey.
The Kekambas, the only all black team, did not have either. It looked as though they had hand-me-down uniforms and their equipment was not reliable. Another theme is the coach-athlete compatibility. At first they seemed as though they were not meant for each other but as the movie moves along they were perfect for each other to get past their problems on and off the field.
Team Cohesion was a theme also. In the beginning they only cared about personal glory and didn’t believe in one another. In the end, they believed in one another and it helped bring them a championship. Extrinsic motivation was found in the movie also. After G-Baby had died they played in the championship game and won the game in his honor.
The main characters were: Connor O’Neill was the head coach. He had a gambling problem and only coached the team in order to pay off his debts. He later becomes attached to the athletes. Sister Elizabeth Wilkes was the teacher for most of the players on the team. She really cared about the kid’s well-being and later takes an interest in Coach O’Neill. Andre` was the goofball of the team. Always making jokes and no one ever took him serious. Jefferson Albert Tibbs was the overweight kid on the team. Pretty good player but relied on his inhaler too much. He was also a momma’s boy.
Kofi Evans was hands down the best offensive player on the team. He butted heads with his teammates at first and quit. He humbled himself and rejoined the team. Eventually helped them win a championship. (6) Jarius “G-Baby) Evans is the younger brother of Kofi Evans. He was the younger brother who always tagged along. Wanted to play on the team but was too young. Later got his chance to play and capitalized and knocked in the game winning run.
The Kekambas matched up against the Budwas in the semifinals. They previously met in the semifinals and the Budwas murdered them. Everyone was betting against them. No one believed they could win the game besides themselves. Both teams were matching run for run. Bottom of the 7th, the Kekambas were down by a run. There was a man on second and first base with 2 outs. Tibbs was on deck, but he was so nervous he resorted to his inhaler. He was not able to bat. Coach had no choice to let G-Baby play. He was so excited. Coach O’Neill instilled in him some confidence. He told him if he does not feel like swinging the team will be ok with it but if he do swings, just swing as hard as you can.
The first pitch nearly took his head off. The second pitch he swung and missed. The third pitch was right down the middle. It was a groundball through the first baseman’s legs. He ran towards first and leaped over the first baseman and stepped on first while the runners score. The team went crazy and hoisted him in the air. After the game, G-Baby was tragically killed outside their project in a drive-by shooting. After his death no one thought they would play in the championship game. The team rallied together and won the championship.
One the most important themes throughout this movie was the Coach-athlete compatibility. Compatibility between coach and athlete is an important factor in team success and satisfaction. Compatible coach-athlete has good communication and has rewards that follow from coach to athlete and vice versa. There is a feeling of mutual respect, an appreciation of each other’s roles, and a desire to communicate honest feelings. Ample time to mesh, communication, and respect between coach and athlete leads to athlete satisfaction and improved performance.
In the beginning of the movie the Coach O’Neill and the players lacked everything listed above. Their record and performance on the field proved it. They couldn’t win a game and were being demolished game in and game out. Coach did not care about the athletes, just wanted the money to pay off his debts. The athletes obviously wanted and needed his attention, but he wanted nothing to do with them. When he and Sister Wilkes met she explained to that the kids look up to him because most of the athletes do not have a father figure in their life.
After that talk, he became more interested in the team and cared about their well-being. Their record and performance on the field proved it. They started winning every game and playing team ball. At one point in the movie, he made enough money by gambling to pay off his debts. He tried to leave the team, but he could not do it. He actually became humanized and cared about something besides himself. He also found out he needed the kids as much as they needed himself. Their relationship grew tremendously over time and won the league championship.
Another important them found in Hardball was team cohesion. Without team cohesion, you can kiss success goodbye. It is a vital part of great teams. For instance, the Lakers had 4 future hall of famers in 2005 on their team. You would have expected them to win the championship but they did not. They lost to the Pistons who had no future hall of famers and had way more team cohesion than the Lakers.
In the movie, all the athletes were ego goal oriented. They did not care about the goals of the team, but about personal glory and to outperform the other players. They also criticized each other instead of edifying each other. After their coach-athlete compatibility was up to a high level, their team cohesion began to rise. They still cared about their personal glory but also cared about the teams and each other goals. Their team cohesion sky rocketed and it showed on and off the field, especially when G-Baby died.
In conclusion, when a team wins a championship, analysts mostly talk about their chemistry and compatibility. They have been proven to be vital on every level regardless of the sport. The coach-athlete compatibility and team cohesion are the main theme of the movie and are a must to be successful. Without them both, your team will receive failure and dissatisfaction. Hardball was a great movie. This is by far my favorite sports movie. I give it a 5. The way the team and coach come together as one was amazing. Also whenever G-Baby dies it gets me every time; no matter how many times I have seen it.