Free Article: Dreams and Ambitions
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Probably all the teenagers dream of being a celebrity. They choose the idol to admire and hope that one day they will be on someone’s poster on the wall. But African-American teens’ desire, based on the lack of other possibilities, is to end the poverty in their families, see the better life and help their families live fully. Documentary Hoop Dreams illustrates the two kids, who face discrimination, financial problems and complicated relationships with their loved ones for the higher aim to become the basketball stars.
The main protagonists are William Gates and Arthur Agee, who have a common background in Chicago: parents and siblings to care, an idol Isiah Thomas, the talent to play basketball and a possibility to enter Saint Joseph High School. The grades of both boys ought to be better, but they try very hard and promise to change the situation. William was luckier to find the sponsor for his study; however, the health problem, which has led to two operations and two long periods of rehabilitation, questioned the sports career and the future. Arthur spends some time in St. Joseph’s, but the financial instability of his family turned him back to the neighborhood high school. The boys were the objects of interest of many colleges, and at the end of the movie they became students there. Unfortunately, their bright stars are not going to sparkle in NBA.
When the viewer analyses the reason for failure, the discrimination question appears first. In the lecture to African students, Spike Lee admitted “Nobody cares about you. You are black”. Boys felt uncomfortable in a white students’ environment in St. Joseph’s because they spoke differently and lived within three-hour distance from the school among other issues. To contrast, they had supportive families that believed in them, saw the potential in their athletic abilities and were ready to refuse from some other family member’s needs and desires. Because of the financial difficulties, Agee’s family was left without electricity and proper food, but they did not refuse to pay the bills for a better school. This attitude is inspiring for me since both families demonstrate that they are really friendly, united and everybody works for the general aim despite the numerous problems. Financial difficulties and the desire to become far from the dangerous environment are the main reasons why the teens wanted to play in high basketball leagues.
Gates and Agee did not fulfill their dreams of becoming the basketball stars, but went to college to find the other ways to improve their lives. William said, “Even though I like playing basketball, but I want to do other things with my life”. Both got families, and the American dream of being the superstar was left behind. It is the problem of numerous African people who view a lot of propaganda about American lifestyle and the success they can achieve. But the complexity of life, choices that people have to make every day as well as fate and luck sometimes go to work against the dream. What is more important is not to break the spirit and be a good father, who inspires children, just as their own parents did.
The mass media often promote the easy way of becoming successful, rich, and famous. Hoop Dreams documentary follows the way of the two boys, who are standing in front of the big basketball world, starting from the grammar school to the college. However, the life circumstances put them, their families and communities in other realities, where the discrimination, money, health, laws, and regulations have a greater impact than their desire to play basketball. Only the support of the family, prayers to God, hard work and the correct attitude to life could help them to become free from the disadvantaged areas they lived in.
Hoop dreams. Directed by Steve James, performances by William Gates, Arthur Agee, and Emma Gates, KTCA Minneapolis, Kartemquin Films, 1994.
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