This is the official synopsis for McFarland USA:
Inspired by a 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.
Field of Dreams (1989), Rocky(1976), The Sandlot (1993), Cool Runnings (1993), and The Rookie (2002) are just a small sampling of all the fantastic inspirational sports movies that are beloved by many. The list could go on and on. What is YOUR favorite sports movie and why? Will McFarland, USA get you to the movie theater this February? Leave your comments below. We would love to hear from you!!!
Aerialist, High school tumbling state champion, competitor in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), a performer in Britney Spears’ world tour, and motivational speaker. These are notable, even impossible accomplishments for any human being to achieve in a lifetime, but these accomplishments belong to Jennifer Bricker: the gymnast that was born without legs. Romanian born, Bricker’s biological parents gave her up for adoption at birth, due to the inability to pay for inevitable medical bills that come from having a child with special needs. She was adopted by an American family with three sons. Sharon and Gerald Bricker, Jennifer’s adoptive parents, never put any restrictions on her with what she could do. She was an ambitious child and loved sports. A natural athlete, she taught herself to swim and roller skate on her hands. At the age of 7, Bricker started playing softball. By age 11, she took up volleyball and tumbling. Jennifer’s athleticism and love for new challenges eventually led her into the acrobat and aerialist she is known as today.
Power tumbling is a form of artistic gymnastics, but uses different equipment. In power tumbling, men, women, boys and girls alike all perform tumbling skills on the floor, a traditional trampoline and a double mini trampoline. After four years of competing in power tumbling, Jennifer made it to the Junior Olympics where she placed 4th in the sport. She became the only physically challenged person to compete professionally in power tumbling. In 1998, she received the U.S. Tumbling Association’s Inspiration Award. After Jennifer graduated from high school, she moved to Orlando, Florida to work at Disney World. It is there that she was introduced to professionals who coached her in acrobatics and aerial arts. Her skills became so finely tunes that she caught the attention of Britney Spears, who asked her to perform on her world tour, Circus. Jennifer became involved with a man named Nate Crawford, a seasoned acrobat, while in Orlando. The pair moved to LA to further her blossoming Hollywood career. She met Los Angeles Trainer, Eric Fleishman, who helped refine Jennifer’s diet and fitness routine. “Eric showed me that you can truly train your body to do anything you want it to”, Bricker says. “I changed my whole lifestyle-eating, sleeping, exercising.”
Those familiar with gymnastics and even those that are not know the name Dominique Moceanu – United States Gold Medalist in women’s gymnastics. Bricker grew up idolizing the champion gymnast. Although Bricker knew she was adopted, she never knew who her biological parents were. In 2004, when Jennifer was 16 years old, The Bricker’s gave their daughter the shock of her life. Sharon and Gerald Bricker revealed to her that the Olympic gymnast she had idolized was actually her biological sister! “I was always going on and on about Dominique, how much we looked alike; how she’s small and of Romanian heritage just like me,” Bricker said. Jennifer was finally ready to reach out to Moceanu in December of 2007. She wrote her a letter and included photos and her adoptive papers, which were included in Moceanu’s memoir “Off Balance,” published on June 12th, 2012. This is a small part of what Jennifer wrote to her sister:
“Ever since I was about six years old, I’ve been obsessed with gymnastics and I always watched you on TV. You had been my idol my whole life, and you turned out to be my sister! I was in extreme disbelief, and my immediate thought was that I wanted to meet you and let you know. I feel that I have one chance to show you and prove to you that I’m not some crazy person, but I’m sure after seeing all of the papers, you’ll see that I’m serious.”
Moceanu called Jennifer a few weeks after receiving her letter. They talked about her biological family, adoptive family and the things they have in common. Bricker’s biological father, Dumitru Moceanu, passed away in 2008. She also connected with her biological mother, Camelia Staicu. Jennifer has no negative feelings toward her adoption and says, “They thought giving me up for adoption would be the best option, and they were right. I was in a place where I could grow and be nurtured and be with amazing people who loved me. I hit the jackpot on the family end.”
Jennifer Bricker currently lives in Los Angeles and has a successful career as a motivational speaker. She continues her love of aerial arts, performing and motivating other to follow their dreams. Jennifer is an advocate and keynote speaker for the Adoption Network, the organization that was instrumental in reconnecting her to her biological family. She also works with kids without limbs at a special sports camp. Jennifer sets an example. She displays what is means to possess courage and strength, both mentally and physically. Her fascinating story will continue to inspire and ignite the human spirit. “I believe God wants to use me as an example to move people in a profound way.”
This is beautiful performance by Jennifer Bricker, courtesy of #besomebody.
The Special Olympics athletes trained for almost two months at their respected schools to prepare for the competition, which challenged them in dribbling, passing and shooting. Out of the Gold, silver, and bronze, student Montik Johnson from Newark High School was awarded the silver medal. “I feel good!,” Johnson stated of his achievement. “Montik was the man,” football player Diondre Hamm said. “He was the most enthusiastic of them all. This was a great opportunity for him. It was a great opportunity for me.” Viking soccer player, Michael Lewis is volunteering at the even for the second year in a row and loves helping his fellow students. “It’s a great feeling helping these kids,” he said. “They are so happy. It makes you feel good being able to make sure they feel great about themselves today.” Athletic Director, Elizabeth Moodie commented on the event as well stating, “Team sports bring people together, and today’s event did just that … and a lot more. It was nice for our student-athletes to see that Special Olympics athletes, just like them, are motivated and love to play their sports.”]]>
For the girls, Grant High School’s #22 Ella Donaghu (OR) glanced at her time as she took the win over #1 Allie Ostrander (AK), #8 Makena Morley (MT), and #12 Annie Hill(MT).
Taking first place for the boys, Tanner Anderson from North Central, WA, followed by Levi Thomet from Kodiak, AK, and Idaho native, Elijah Armstrong, finished strong in third with a time of 16:28.30, just 7 minutes and 10 seconds behind Thomet.
See some of the action here:
Each of Spellman’s 1,400 plus students were challenged to raise $100 as a goal alongside the Principals own goal of helping to fund 50 student activity clubs and 25 sports teams. “It’s about inspiring our students that you can do things people say are impossible,” O’Keefe said. The Principal started his 100 mile run at 6a.m. Friday, November 7th, 2014. Fellow Teachers rallied in support of O’Keefe as well, getting up extra early to bring water, a change of clothes, and cheering him on as he ran throughout the night. “You get to a point in ultra-marathoning when you’re ready for it, no matter what,” O’Keefe said. “I’ve done it enough times to know what I’m capable of.” Just before finishing the run at almost 6a.m. on Saturday, an anonymous donor gave $100,000 to the school. A true inspiration, Principal O’Keefe proved to his students that the impossible really can be possible.
The video below provided by Cardinal Spellman High School:]]>
This is the contest’s requirements:
• Identify a school that has an athletic program that deserves the $1,000 donation.
• Nominate the school by posting a comment on the Univest Facebook page or tweeting a vote to @UnivestCorp
• The school with the most posts at the end of the contest will win the following:
$1,000 for the school’s Athletic Department
A special giveaway for the fantastic fans at a home athletic game or pep rally in October
A school spirit banner to display at the school
Last year, Harry S. Truman in Bucks County, Pennsylvania was the lucky recipient of the $1,000 prize, and they did it again this year! Truman used its entire student body to show their spirit and appreciation for Univest by spelling out the Company’s name in their bleachers. Kim Detwiler, Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Communications represented the company at the presentation: “This is the most exciting and surprising welcome that we receive when we present a check for $1,000,” Detwiler said. “It really is phenomenal. We couldn’t script it better. They honored us in an incredible way.” The school’s student body was also presented with “Number One” foam fingers to celebrate their victory, which the students waved around proudly while cheering on their team.
“Once again, you guys were given a mission, a very important mission, a very tough mission, and you rose to the occasion like the Truman Tigers you are,” says Truman Athletic Director, Mike Stock. The students felt a sense of unity that day, all beaming with pride for the success of the school’s joint effort. “All of our students are really involved – everybody goes all out,” says, Senior Madison Piasecki.
Detweiler commented, “This is one of the ways Univest gives back to our community and really support education. There’s such a great need for public education to be funded and to be supported by businesses in the local community, and this is one of the ways we do that.” The contest is one way that students can connect with each other and show their school pride. One Truman Student explains, “It’s awesome that Univest offers this. It helps everything at Truman. The whole school is thankful to Univest.”
Here is the video provided by Surburban One Sports:
After his sophomore year at Melvindale, Whittis knew he had to make a change for the better. He switched schools and ended up at River Rouge, where he met Coach Parker. Corey Parker is the head football coach at River Rouge High School, located in a gritty, industrial town on the outskirts of Detroit. Whittis became involved in football as an after-school activity to keep himself busy. Coach Parker would drop Whittis off at different locations after practice and soon realized that the boy didn’t have a regular place to sleep. After the nod of approval from his Wife, Coach Parker opened his home to Whittis, not as a tenant, but as a son. Parker welcomed Angelo into his home and immediately stepped into the father role, helping to bring his grades up and train for football. Over the summer months, Angelo built himself up, gaining 30 pounds of muscle and becoming a fierce quarterback, a true asset to the team. Whittis helped lead River Rouge to its first District Title. Not only is he the star quarterback, but he works with other teammates to help boost their grades – he is even on the honor roll!
Although Parker and his wife, Autumn, did not legally adopt Whittis (he was 18 at the time), he became the third member of their family. Soon after, a fourth was on the way with the recent addition of Corey Parker Jr. When Parker and his wife, Autumn, took Whittis in — there wasn’t a legal adoption because he is 18 — they became a three-person home. Today, with the recent addition of Corey Parker Jr., they are a family of four. A boy who went from a broken family and unstable homes now feels the love from the Parkers that he has missed out on for so long — He even considers himself a big brother to baby Parker. “It meant a lot to me, I finally felt like I was somebody. For him to take me in not knowing me from anybody… it was a blessing,” said Whittis. He has transformed from a troubled youth involved in a life of crime to an awe inspiring image of hope. “Anybody who can go through what this kid has gone through in one lifetime, and still find a way to get up again and again after being repeatedly knocked down… well, I think they are amazing,” said Coach Parker.
Whittis will be college bound soon, but is unsure which school he will attend. Although it will be hard on the Parker’s to see him leave, it will be a great experience for him. “He’s such a big baby that I expect him to be calling me every day to complain about stuff in the dorms and stuff he can’t afford to do,” Parker says. For once in his life he is just excited for his future, thanks to hard work and a second chance given to him by Coach Parker.
Below is a highlight video of Angelo Whittis provided by River Rouge High School:
After much anticipation, Quakertown and Pennridge finally faced off to open the District One Class 4A playoffs. In a game going all the way down to the wire, Quakertown was able to overcome the Rams 14-10 for its first playoff victory ever.
Scoring the sole touchdown of the first half when Alec Vera hit Kyle Baskin in the second, the Panthers led 7-0 going into the fourth after managing to keep Pennridge off the board three quarters. Things got interesting when the Rams scored a quick field goal and touchdown to take a 10-7 lead with just over seven minutes to go.
That is when senior Tyler Kishbaugh stepped up to give his team exactly the boost it needed. He caught the 20-yard touchdown to push a trailing Panthers squad ahead of Pennridge with 4:37 remaining; giving Quakertown the 4-point cushion it needed to win.
The senior wasn’t done yet. Pennridge’s late push put the Rams in the redzone in the closing minute of the game. Kishbaugh intercepted a would-be touchdown, his second pick of the game, which secured the victory for Quakertown. Along with Kishbaugh’s fumble recovery to stop another Pennridge touchdown, the play has been nominated for the WFMZ Hot Ticket.
Now Quakertown heads to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in its school history. On November 14, the Panthers host Downingtown East.
The Quakertown student section, self-named the “Panther Pack,” has organized a poll to choose a student section theme for the next match. Possible themes include a Blue Out, Beach Theme, and Toga Night. To go the Panther Pack tweet at
Click here on your mobile phone, to vote on this weeks student section theme! http://t.co/391cLLl7qo
— PantherPack (@QHSPantherPack) November 10, 2014
Follow the link to vote.
Members of the Panther Pack, send your photos for your best spirit themed costumes to email@example.com and we’ll feature them in our next article on Quakertown.
Player of the Game:
Tyler Kishbaugh- 1 TD, 2 INT, 1 Fmb Rec]]>
A few months before her grim prognosis of only two months of left of life, Hill accepted the opportunity to play College Basketball for Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, OH. Basketball has always been a passion of hers and she was determined to live out her dream. Throughout her treatment, she attends practices with the team.
Hill displays an immense amount of courage and determination – a true inspiration to all. There has been an outpouring of support from friends, teammates, and fans cheering her on both off and on the court. Bengals Defensive Tackle, Devon Still wore his heart on his face for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, when he sported her name on his eye black patches. Still’s 4-year old daughter is currently fighting her own battle with pediatric cancer.
Lauren was able to live out her dream when the NCAA moved up a game to be played against Hiram College by two weeks so that she was able to participate. On November 2nd, player 22 did a left-handed layup in the first half of the game that left the crowd in a roar of applause cheering, “Lauren Hill!!” Below is the video provided by Fox Sports:
Miss Hill is currently investing her time helping to raise money for The Cure Starts Now, a non-profit organization that promotes pediatric cancer research, specifically for DIPG. The “Layup4Lauren Challenge,” is Hill’s way of raising money for the organization. If you wish to help Lauren and The Cure Starts Now in the fight against pediatric cancer, visit: http://www.thecurestartsnow.org/heroes/163/.
The new Nike commercial featuring Lebron James has been more than inspiring to communities around the nation. The is especially the case in Northeast Ohio.
The video sparked an idea for the Rockey Rover High School football team, where they recreated the video to show school and community spirit revolving around their program. The Rocky River Pirates will embark on their fourth state playoff appearance in school history tonight!
Below you will find the video: