Pirate Pride: documentary on Provis East boys hoops program
The film was produced by David D. Grace and directed by Derek Grace. During the discussion of the film, the Grace's indicated they intend to incorporate more footage about Shannon Brown who was a point guard on the Los Angeles Lakers team that won the NBA championship in 2009.
Since the film is still a work in progress, I hope some of my criticisms will cause the filmmakers to reflect and improve the film.
One person who watched Pirate Pride described it as being like a Chamber of Commerce film. It is also repetitive without offering significant insights. To be successful in sports one needs pride, drive, talent, practice and a supporting school and community. OK. So what?
When speaking to the audience the filmmakers expressed their motivation as being to present a positive image of Maywood to counter the negative information about Maywood. Presenting all positive for an hour makes the film tedious.
The 1969 team won the state championship during a very tumultuous time. The story for this part of the film should probably look something like a documentary version of Remember the Titans. Instead one of the people interviewed characterizes Proviso as going through the same issues as every other school in the country during that period.
Really? I'm not an expert on that era, but it seems like Proviso was facing more issues than the typical suburban school or typical majority Black school.
This also ties into a another weakness of the film. The film seems to be made by Maywoodians and for Maywoodians. It's assumed that the audience knows who Fred Hampton was when he's mentioned (once). One person gives the boundaries on where Blacks were allowed to live in Maywood, but this isn't explained. When this information is given, the film should show a map of Maywood and area Blacks were constrained to.
During the discussion a bunch of time went into praising the movie and people saying how important it would be to show this film to elementary school students.
As a morality tale, a Spiderman cartoon would be better. None of the people being interviewed tell about an obstacle they've overcome. They don't discuss key decisions in their lives. They are presented as people who decided to be really good at basketball and they worked long hours and became really good at basketball.
Having spent some time with athletes, chess players and competing in math competitions myself, there's a disconnect with reality. To become the best, one has to work really hard. But for 99+% of people becoming a great basketball player is not an option. Far less than one in a thousand has the potential to become a grand master chess player no matter how much drive and practice.
The movie also has the Maywood problem of obsessively looking backward. Attendance at Proviso East hoops games is down, a detail that the movie mentions but doesn't discuss.
Question: Proviso East graduates have been on the team that won the NBA championship for three straight years (Michael Finley, 2007, San Antonio; Glenn “Doc” Rivers, 2008, Boston; Brown, 2009, LA), if Proviso East is so imbued with pride, why is attendance down at hoops games?
The movie would be more effective if it tackled Maywood's problems and Proviso East's problems directly. The community has a crime problem. Students at Proviso East do poorly on standardized tests.
Without explaining the problems the community and the school face, the movie treats its audience as children that need to be shielded from the truth. No amount of extolling the Golden Age of Maywood will bring those circumstances back. Communities who have a positive future take stock of their situation and make a decision to make the best decisions going forward. Maywood obsessively looks backward and tries to reclaim the past. This has caused the community to slip backward consistently since about the time the Pirates won their first state hoops championship (1969).