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Discussion Guide: We Are Marshall

Movie Synopsis

Football is a game that knocks you down, then expects you to get back up. Life hit the West Virginia town of Huntington and its Marshall University even harder. When it did, Jack Lengyel came by to help pull them onto their feet by taking the job no one wanted: rebuilding the Marshall football program only months after a plane crash wiped out Marshall's beloved Thundering Herd. Matthew McConaughey portrays Lengyel, the energetic, compassionate coach of inexperienced players whose chances of victory are slim and none. They'll go with the slim. And as they do, their true-life story of heart, healing, and football will thrill and inspire you. It's game day. Time to play till the whistle blows!

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Discussion Questions

  1. What is Coach Lengyel’s biggest challenge in rebuilding the Marshall University team?
  2. Marshall loses several prospects to West Virginia because of the accident. This is one of many challenges. How does the team and coach respond to this?
  3. Coach Lengyel recruits players who played other sports to join his program. Is this effective? Do their overall athletic talents translate to football?
  4. How do the efforts, not on the scoreboard, help heal the devastated West Virginian community?
  5. Was it the correct response to continue moving forward with the football program after the accident? How would you respond to this tragedy?
  6. Marshall eventually became a powerhouse football program again, recruiting the likes of Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and others. How do the actions of Coach Lengyel and the Huntington community impact the program’s success even years later?
  7. Coach Lengyel did not focus on ‘scoreboard winning’ but instead emphasized effort. Do you think this approach eventually translated to scoreboard winning anyways?

Our partner, Positive Coaching Alliance, provides a collection of movie discussion guides, which aim to help you make the most out of movie viewing with your team or child. Movies provide many of "teachable moments" parents can share with their young athletes helping them be successful, contributing members of society.

Sports in this article

Football