We’ve heard the stories and you’ve probably used them with your children, friends and possibly even yourself. When we fail, we sometimes need someone or something to lift us up and tell us that we can make it. There are many stories of successful people who failed time and time again, making it big in the end.
Henry Ford failed five times before he founded the Ford Motor Company. Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken had his “secret recipe” rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant thought it was finger licking good.
Einstein didn’t speak until the age of four and couldn’t read until the age of seven. He was even expelled from school. Albert turned out alright in terms of his scientific discoveries.
Abraham Lincoln went to war as a captain and came back a private and eventually became the President of the United States.
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) was told that he didn’t have what it took to be an actor, so he went back to being a carpenter around age 30. On his second try, he did ok looking for the lost ark, fighting Darth Vader and being Tom Clancy’s hero, Jack Ryan, on the silver screen.
You get the picture.
Chances are you don’t know about the failure I found the other night on television. It’s because you don’t see his failures on television, you see his successes. Most specifically, you see the success that is inspirational and proves that small town heroes are the best when it comes to lifting us up.
His name is “Maris,” but he wasn’t a baseball player. He was a basketball player. If you love basketball, chances are you have seen Maris make one of the most inspirational shots ever taken in a basketball game.
The movie is about a small rural high school in Indiana that defeated a huge Indianapolis high school in the state championship in 1952. The movie is based on a small rural high school in Milan, Indiana, that did indeed win the Indiana state high school championship over a much larger school from Muncie, Indiana. The year was actually 1954.
Maris thought he would like to try his hand at acting. When the casting call came, Maris stood in a line of around 600 to get a spot in the movie. Frustrated with the wait, Maris Valainis decided that it wasn’t worth it.
While leaving the line of hopefuls, Maris was noticed by one of the casting directors who asked him to show off his basketball skills.
What the casting director didn’t know was that the young man had been cut three times from his high school basketball team. It didn’t matter. Maris was perfect for the role of Jimmy Chitwood, the young man who makes the last second shot to win the Indiana high school state championship.
In filming the movie, they had to take two cuts of the game winning shot. Jimmy Chitwood/Maris Valainis made the shot both times.
If you are one of the few who has never seen the movie “Hoosiers,” filmed in 1986, you should watch it. Watch it knowing that the fellow who makes that famous shot in the movie was actually cut every year for three years from his high school basketball team.
In his role as Jimmy Chitwood, Valainis only has four lines. They are all memorable, but his last is the one that will stick with you. With the game on the line, the coach huddles the players and tells them that Jimmy will not take the final shot; he will be used as a decoy.Gene Hackman) and convincingly tells him, “I’ll make it.” Of course the coach lets him take the shot and Jimmy makes it and the fictional Huskers from rural Hickory, Indiana win the state championship.
The movie is based on the real state championship that Milan High School won in 1954. There is a lot of drama in the movie that didn’t actually happen.
The coach was actually a young man who never hit his players. In the movie, Gene Hackman was a college coach fired for hitting a player and eventually ended up as a high school coach. There was no drunken coach/father who wandered onto the court like Dennis Hopper did in the movie.
People seem to need a lot of extra drama in a movie; that is what directors think anyway. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. The screenwriter for Hoosiers, Angelo Pizzo noted the reasons as being, “The guys were too nice, the team had no real conflict.”
Hats off to the real 1954 Milan High School basketball team for being too nice and too normal.Bobby Plump. I guess a basketball hero named Bobby Plump is not racy enough, but it was and he was for the little school in rural Indiana that actually did knock out the Goliath high school of their time for the storied Indiana high school basketball championship.
When asked about the movie, Bobby Plump notes that the most accurate part of the movie is actually the game winning shot and the last 18 seconds.
He made the shot just that way.
Did Bobby Plump actually tell his coach that he “would make the shot?” Plump says that he would have never been bold enough to say that to his coach and that he was a very shy boy (with true basketball skills).
Then again, in small towns across America, they don’t need to say, “I’ll make it.”
They know they will.
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Tell 27 people you love them today; something good will happen.I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and black and white pictures.