Everyone loves an inspirational sports movie, where the underdog triumphs over tragedy or adversity to rise to glory.
The genre is defined by the classics: Hoosiers. Rudy. Remember the Titans. Even the Bad News Bears had their moment.
Now, the latest entry could someday belong to the Frisco Wakeland High School boys’ soccer team, if the talk surrounding a potential movie deal to tell the team’s story comes to fruition.
The Wolverines won the Texas Class 4A state title in April, but only after head coach Rusty Oglesby’s father passed away in March. At the first game after his funeral, his players donned black armbands and wore them for the rest of the playoffs in a show of team unity.
“I started looking around (before the game) and kids were getting them out of their bags,” Oglesby said. “I watched as one-by-one, they found a partner and placed that armband on each other’s arms. Not a word was spoken. They didn’t want me to see. They just wanted me to be aware they were playing for my dad.”
The story quickly caught the attention of Calfornia-based evangelical Christian minister and author Rick Warren, a close friend of Oglesby who relayed the details to a member of his California church who works in the entertainment industry.
“Rick fell in love with what was going on,” Oglesby said. “Brian Bird was the executive producer of Touched by an Angel, a CBS show. He (Warren) told Brian the story. Now, he’s pitching it to different areas and different situations to see what they can come up with. If Remember the Titans and The Blind Side can be all that they were, then what’s to keep this story from being something special?”
It already is. Oglesby said his father’s passing caused a sudden halt to a valuable pre-game ritual at Frisco Wakeland, which proved to be one of the top defensive teams in the state in 2010.
“The part that still hurts me the most is my best friend still won’t call me at 3:30 like he did every game day,” Oglesby said. “My father called me every game day at 3:30, wanting to know how things were, if we were ready for the game and to tell me he was so proud of me.”
That’s when Warren – a best-selling author who gave the invocation at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration in January 2009 – offered his services for Oglesby and his team.
“We played our first playoff game and at 5:30, the phone rang and it was Rick. He said he called me at 3:30 his time because he didn’t want to take my dad’s timeslot,” Oglesby said. “I’m standing on the sidelines in pregame warm ups at the state semifinals and Rick Warren is having prayer with me over the phone. That’s just huge.”