McFarland, USA is absolutely incredible and a movie everyone should see. This movie chronicles the story of coach Jim White’s, played by Kevin Costner, relocation of his family to the Mexican-American farming community of McFarland, CA where he became the town’s high school cross country coach.
If you are looking for a family-friendly, inspirational movie about perseverance, family and the power of community, look no farther than McFarland, USA. You will not be disappointed.
The following are 25 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From the absolutely wonderful McFarland, USA:
- The Only Difference Between Anger And Danger Is A “D” – Leaders often lose influence when they lose control of their emotions. Coach White’s only option for employment was a school in one of the poorest cities in America after his anger resulted in a teenager getting injured.
- Leaders Want Options – After Coach White’s family arrived in their new McFarland home, he said despondently, “We’ve got to make it work. We don’t have another choice.”
- The Power Of Persistence – One of the runners said to Coach White, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.” To which Coach White responded, “Depends on the size of the dog.”
- Leaders Build The Self-Esteem Of Those They Serve – After being removed from an assistant football coach job after just one game, one of the runners told Coach White, “They’re treating you like a picker.”
- There Is A Fine Line Between Success And Failure – There was a striking parallel in that a federal prison (failure) was right next to the high school (opportunity).
- Churches Should Prioritize Ministry To The Next Generation – One of the schools teachers told Coach White, “These kids, this is the best years of their life. If we’re going to reach them, now is the time.”
- Out Of Great Calamity Comes Great Opportunity – Coach White made an interesting observation. What better place could you find a cross country team than with kids who eat the right foods, pick in extreme heat and running is their primary mode of transportation?
- Great Leaders Recruit Influencers First – After identifying which students would make the best members of the cross country team, Coach White recruited one of the Diaz brothers because he would bring his two other brothers with him.
- Great Leaders Give People A Picture Of A Brighter Tomorrow – Coach White gave the team a picture of how running could benefit them and their families.
- The Chain Is Only As Strong As Its Weakest Link – The Diaz brother enlisted to recruit his brothers was the slowest runner on their team. However, by the movie’s end, his contributions were critical to the team’s success.
- Losing Is Never Easy For Great Leaders – Coach White told the team after losing their initial race, “What is hard is watching someone pass you on a hill…What is hard is losing.”
- Great Leaders Trust Their Preparation – They lost their first race because of how they ran the hills. But after training differently, Coach White confidently acknowledged, “When we see a hill we’re going to smile.”
- Going To A Higher Level Requires A Different Set Of Skills – To help the team cope better with racing through the mountains, Coach White demanded they “change gears going up a hill.”
- Leaders Get Better With Focus – Sometimes a lack of options is good for leaders. It eliminates distractions. Coach White told Thomas Valles, “Running is all you got.”
- Great Leaders Connect With Those They Are Called To Serve – Coach White took a day to pick cabbage with three of the Diaz brothers and their families. This brought him credibility with the Diaz family.
- Great Leaders Provide Solutions – After working a day in the fields, the exhausted Coach White worked out a schedule which allowed the Diaz family to continue making income while also racing.
- Even Great Leaders Make Mistakes – Coach White forgot his daughter’s birthday.
- Great Leaders Do Not Focus On Negatives – To relieve some of the team’s pressure, Coach White said, “Quit staring at the mountain. It’s not going anywhere.”
- Great Leaders Give Their People An Identity – One of the runners wrote, “When we run we own the earth…We’re not immigrants anymore.”
- Great Leaders Have High Pain Tolerance – When comparing his team to others, Coach White reminded them of what they face everyday and said, “It comes down to which runner can handle the pain.”
- Great Leaders Give Their People New Experiences – After making the state finals, Coach White took his team to experience something they never had before – the beach.
- Great Leaders Are Protected By Their Teams – When Coach White’s daughter was involved in a random act of violence, the entire cross country team provided protection by jumping in front of her.
- Great Leaders Prioritize Relationships – When considering leaving McFarland after the incident, Coach White’s wife Cheryl weighed the value of the friendships they had made. She said, “Jim, the owner of the store has a name and he’s our friend.”
- Leaders Make Their Teams Feel They Can Accomplish Anything – Before the final race, Coach White said to the team, “You run like you’re superhuman. There’s nothing you can’t do with that kind of strength.”
- Leaders Validate Their Teams – He concluded by saying, “You’ve got the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen.”
Once again, do not miss McFarland, USA. What were your thoughts of the movie?
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