The Heart of the Game | 2006
A chronicle following the Roosevelt Roughriders girls' basketball team for six tumultuous seasons, capturing the passion and energy of a high school girls' competitive sport. Coach Bill Resler is a tax professor at the University of Washington, with three daughters, when he applies for the job as girls' basketball coach at Roosevelt High. Although his coaching experience is minimal, he has a philosophy that disciplined training and healthy aggression will play a key role in turning an average team into champions. Using metaphors and themes to inspire the girls each year, Coach Roesler encourages them to think and act like a "pride of lions," a "tropical storm" and a "pack of wolves"--all to communicate the mindset required of a championship team. He invents an "inner circle" that is free of parents and authority figures in which the girls can work through problems on their own. And at the start of every season, he makes them run, and run, and run--training them to outlast the competition. But when Darnellia Russell, a young African-American from a neighborhood across town, walks on the mostly-white Roosevelt court, both Russell and Relser will be changed forever. A phenomenal talent with WNBA potential, she develops into one of the very best players in the state. In her junior year, Darnellia is faced with a challenge that could put both her basketball and academic future in jeopardy. Both her teammates and her coach must decide whether or not to support her desire to continue playing, even after she's ruled ineligible by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the state's governing sports organization.