Today's Beautiful Gem: `Hoop Dreams' - Some Random Thoughts (Part II)

In their senior school year, both William and Arthur play superbly. The talented William accepts a basketball scholarship from Marquette University. However, his team was eliminated in the earlier rounds of the Chicago City School championships. The unranked and unheralded Marshalls reach the finals of the Illinois State. Both graduate from their respective classes. In his fifth attempt, William gets the minimum ACT score for admission to Marquette. Both have girl friends and children too. Arthur ends up in Arkansas State via a junior college. In the end, both realise that they are not of the NBA material. For William, the priorities become his family, his studies and the basketball, in that order. Arthur had not given up hope of his hoop dream to play for NBA, but ends up in a Canadian ball club.

You will find not only the saga of two young black kids, but also the story of their families. The incredible support that they receive from their families, friends and coaches is very well depicted. The time Arthur's mother gets her nursing degree, her on-and-off separation and reunion with Arthur's father, the manner in which William's brother Curtis, convicted on drug charges, turns over a new leaf and keeps a steady job for the Federal Express are some poignant moments in the film. What touched me most was one can find beauty and human values in an otherwise decrepit and brutal environment. Amidst drugs and violence exist joy, beauty and innocence too. I was reminded of the young kids in India who used to play cricket on the street corners of Madras, Bangalore and Bombay with make-shift bats and tennis balls! The happiness they and the impoverished inner city kids here churn out of their enterprise is in no way inferior to that experienced by the likes of Kapil Dev and Tendulkar or Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. There is always beauty and poetry in the innocence and tenderness of children. If only the adults and the society channelise and direct their activities towards constructive areas, I am sure the society will be transformed in course of time.

My suggestion: Don't miss this documentary. It is a four-star film!

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao