Reading Time: 21 minutes (Alora Griffiths.) Cas chose this pic and it probably doesn't show the right team.
Reading Time: 21 minutes

Hi and welcome to a guest post by lisu! Today, we begin an epic journey through the Christian movie Facing the Giants. It’s a “heartwarming” story of infertility, Jesus magic, a bizarre lack of understanding of sportsball considering its topic, and more ableism than you can shake a cane at. Enjoy! Today, Lord Snow presides over a terrible Christian movie!

(Alora Griffiths.) Cas chose this pic and it probably doesn’t show the right team.

I’ll let lisu take it away…. 🙂

Welcome to the Pre-Show.

Today, we dissect Sherwood Pictures’ Facing the Giants, a one hour and fifty-one minute evangelism pitch dressed up as a football movie. I’m an avid follower of the NFL myself (go Patriots!), and I always enjoy a good sports film. This film fits one of those two descriptors – it’s certainly about sports, but it isn’t very good.

Facing the Giants was directed by Alex Kendrick, who produces Jesus porn Christian-themed movies for a living. He also plays the main character. Most of the other actors are members of the Sherwood Baptist Church, where Kendrick was the associate pastor for fifteen years. They also weren’t paid for their work on the film. The amateurism shows; the acting is pretty wooden in general. Between that and the shoehorned come-to-God messages, this is going to be a very interesting experience.1

To start off with!

Bonus Drinking Game.

I’ll be taking a drink every time I fill in a square on the Christianese Bingo Box. You can find it below if you want to play along.

Tonight’s alcohol menu is Somersby cider, local rosé, and Benedictine liqueur. You’ll notice that all of these drinks are fairly low ABV%. That’s deliberate. I suspect that I’m going to be doing quite a lot of drinking over the next two hours.

And my axe!

So, shall we begin?

Everyone, Meet Grant Taylor.

We open with a high school football team on the gridiron. The crowd cheers. A balding man (we assume that this is our hero) shouts at the players from the sideline. The announcer informs us that Coach Grant Taylor has a chance to have his first winning season at Shiloh Christian Academy, if his team can make a vital fourth down with less than a minute remaining.

Even though there’s a wide receiver open downfield, the quarterback tries to run, and gets stuffed at the 40.

The game is over.

The crowd screams. Our hero looks dejected. He’s going to have to wait another season for his winning record. The announcer covers the microphone, and whispers conspiratorially to his colleague that the school might not let him come back next year.

You think it can’t get any worse than that? Don’t you worry. It’s going to get much, much worse.

The Case Of The Missing Player.

Shiloh Christian Academy. First day of school. Our hero enters his office, and there’s more bad news waiting for him. The Token Black Coach shakes his head as the other assistant, who we’ll call Professional Ditherer, hands over a piece of paper. We learn that these are transfer papers for the team’s star player. OMG! Our hero lost one player off his 30-some man roster! Whatever will he do?

He thinks the whole thing is a joke. It’s not a joke. “A player can’t just transfer to another school to play football, he’s got to make a change of address!” our hero protests. But the kid is making a change of address. He’s moving in with his dad.

Upon hearing this, our hero crumples up the transfer paper and throws it at the wall. He has a mini-tantrum about how he puts so much time and effort into his players, and then they transfer to rival schools at the end of the season. Professional Ditherer doesn’t think anyone wants to be on TV at the end of the season shouting “We’re number 6, baby! We’re number 6!” I mean, you can still achieve things without being the best in the world, but okay.

Our hero storms out to the gridiron. When he tells the team that their star player transferred, the kids start complaining that their whole season is lost. Our hero tells them that they should be motivated to pick up the slack, but they clearly aren’t. The team starts practice in a generally apathetic mood.

In Which Everything Is Going Wrong.

The scene cuts to our hero’s Trophy Wife, who is staring at a single line on a pregnancy test. Our hero shows up in an old lemon, which promptly breaks down on the front lawn. Trophy Wife offers to take a look at it for him, and he shouts at her. Nice. God forbid a woman could know how to fix a car, let alone actually do it!

As soon as they get inside, our hero starts complaining about a bad smell. Trophy Wife has apparently spent the whole day searching for the source, but she can’t find it. Our hero breaks the news about the transfer, and she makes a suitably big deal of it.

While she’s commiserating, he goes into the bathroom and finds the box for the pregnancy test. When he starts asking questions, she laments that she wants to be pregnant so bad that her mind is playing tricks on her. She wants to see a specialist to find out whether there’s an organic cause, and he reluctantly agrees.

Our hero was expecting spaghetti for dinner, and he’s not too pleased when Trophy Wife serves sandwiches instead. She has to tell him that the stove isn’t working, which precipitates another mini-tantrum about how everything is going wrong. Also, he’s losing his hair. I don’t think that’s really his biggest problem here, but who am I to judge?

Meet The Opposition.

And now, your Georgia Sports Break with Alicia Houston! So we’re in Georgia, then. This is actually quite handy, because I have a source who’s intimately familiar with Georgia high school football. Fun fact: we have a running joke about the state-by-state academic quality rankings in America. Georgia is dead last.2

Today, Alicia Houston is profiling the Richland Giants. They’ve won the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA) state championship three years in a row. The Richland coach kicks off the interview by getting her name wrong. He declares that his team’s getting awful fond of that state championship, so their opponents should get out of the way before the freight train comes. Also, he periodically jabs his pre-sucked lollipop in the direction of the camera. What a charmer. I think this is meant to be the bad guy to our hero’s good guy, but I don’t like either of them. (Incidentally, Rival Coach is played by the pastor of the director’s church. I wonder why the arsehole persona seems so natural? Oh, that’s right: his day job is being an arsehole-for-Jesus.)

My source tells me that the GISA football championship is actually split into two divisions. It’s contested mostly by small Christian schools. (We find out later on that the Richland Giants have an 85-man roster, which is unheard of at the GISA level. For some GISA schools, that feat would require every boy enrolled.) According to them, media coverage tends to focus on the Georgia High School Association, which is where the vast majority of strong high school football teams play. This championship isn’t exactly the Lombardi Trophy, y’all.

The First Game.

We get a gratuitous shot of Shiloh’s cheerleaders as we join the sideline for the team’s first game. Shock horror, their outfits expose BARE LEG and CLEAVAGE! The school clearly doesn’t preach modesty doctrine, or these girls would not be on the field.

I have to point out here that Shiloh’s entire football team is white. The only black person at the game (indeed, in the entire movie as far as I can tell) is Token Black Coach. I asked my source whether this would ever be the case for a high school football team in Georgia, and they burst out laughing. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

Anyway, the Shiloh players are completely outmatched. Our hero shakes his head from the sidelines as he watches his players get stuffed repeatedly. (Pun intended.) The game ends with a final score of 23-nothing. Not a great start to the season.

As our hero and his wife leave the stadium, an Agitator Dad heckles them about this being an omen for the rest of the year. Trophy Wife encourages our hero to shake it off, but he’s pissed. He opens the door of the car for her. I think Kendrick perceives this as chivalrous, but it’s just patronising. Can’t she open the door herself?

The car chooses this moment to break down again. Trophy Wife suggests that our hero go find someone with jump leads, and not be embarrassed about it. So apparently it’s his job to solve all the problems now. Considering that he shouted at Trophy Wife when she offered to look at the car battery earlier, I can’t help but feel that he deserves it.

While he’s off finding someone to jump-start the car, Trophy Wife slides down in the seat. Our hero smacks the hood, and she pops it open, still hidden. Cue rueful smile to camera.

Babies, Babies, Babies.

Trophy Wife wasn’t REALLY embarrassed about the car, y’all. It’s super important that our hero knows this, but her protests are interrupted by our hero complaining about the smell. She doesn’t seem concerned by the smell, because she’s immediately at him about getting the car repaired. He wants to buy a new car, but she doesn’t think they can’t afford the payments. Also, they have to pay her specialist bill.

Our hero remembers that she went to the specialist earlier that day, and wants to know how it went. Of course, everything is totally fine, and she should be all ready to breed like a rabbit. This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that something is going to be wrong with our hero’s junk.

Our hero seems to have leaped to the same conclusion, because he immediately starts griping about how something must be wrong with him. Trophy Wife requests that he go and get checked out, but he says no. She accuses him of being afraid, which he admits.

This is where the think of the babybees kicks in, folks. Trophy Wife is just so eager to talk about all her hopes and dreams for the couple’s hypothetical children, and all the things she’ll do with them when God finally gets her knocked up. Her nostalgic spiel ends with the line “How can I miss someone so much that I’ve never met?”

Our hero just falls on his metaphorical knees when he hears this super-persuasive talk. He agrees to go to a fertility specialist.

Babies on the Brain.

Can we just talk for a moment about how baby-obsessed these people are?

Our heroes don’t have enough money for a reliable car. They have a horrible-smelling house with no stove and damp problems. All of these things require money to fix. And yet, they’re spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on seeing specialists who will help them have children. Raising those children, if it happens, is going to cost still more money. I don’t think either of them have thought about how much more difficult their current financial situation will be with more mouths to feed. There’s not a single mention of the financial burden of raising a child.

It’s not even like the couple would be bringing any children into a secure situation. Our hero is in danger of losing his job. They don’t have a reliable car, nor do they have a functioning stove. But don’t worry, folks! If they just Jesus hard enough, none of those things will matter! And if everything does go pear-shaped, they’ll be able to deal with it by Jesusing even harder than that!

I wish I could say I was surprised, but this is exactly the kind of message I was expecting from this film. Fundagelical culture has to place emphasis on popping out the babies, because Americans at large sure aren’t biting on their SUPER ENTHUSIASTIC come-to-Jesus pitch. Poor Trophy Wife probably doesn’t know any different.

Football Players, Man.

The next scene opens with a kid sitting on the teacher’s desk. He doesn’t seem to know why he’s there, or indeed how he got there. The mystery is quickly solved, though: it’s two of the football players that are the culprits. The teacher informs them that they’ll have to tell our hero that they’re late for practice because they were sitting in detention.

The players protest, but the teacher would be far more amused by their humour if they put effort into keeping their grades up. Good for her! As if to prove the point, she hands back their test papers, and one of them complains to the class that he got a 55.

The teacher is totally fine with him announcing his grade if he wants to. Good for her again! This is one of the points at which this film diverges from standard Fundagelical gender roles. This teacher is a strong woman, and confident in her influence over these kids. I like that.

The other player proves to be a little smarter than his friend. He leans over, grins, and whispers “57!” while pointing to his grade. I get the impression that these two aren’t too concerned with their academic prowess.

I went to school in systems where the passing grade was 50. Thus, I wasn’t sure why their papers were marked as fails, so I asked my source. They told me that 60 is the passing grade in American schools. Weird.

Our hero interrupts complaints about the team’s schedule to head out for his specialist appointment. His assistants needle him about why he’s visiting the doctor, which really upsets him. As soon as he’s gone, they start bickering about which one of them did it. Anyway, Token Black Coach knows where our hero is headed–he’s off to the hair doctor!


Professional Ditherer takes the opportunity to tease Token Black Coach about his own bald head. Token Black Coach isn’t too bothered by this, because Samuel L. Jackson and George Foreman look classy. Professional Ditherer finds this funny, to which Token Black Coach responds that Professional Ditherer will be the next one to go bald.

Token Black Coach reads like a white person’s stereotype of a middle-class black man, and yet he feels totally out of place in this film. It’s a bit like what I imagine would happen if Pocahontas went to a KKK meeting.

We cut to a kid kicking a soccer ball around in the backyard. His father is watching from a wheelchair while peeling an apple. The kid comes over for a rest, and starts chatting to his dad. We learn that the kid’s name is David. This will be important later. For now, I’m going to call him Soccer Player.

Wheelchair Dad (yes, the wheelchair really IS his defining feature–I’ll get to that later) suggests that Soccer Player should kick for the football team, since the school doesn’t have a soccer team. Soccer Player protests that he’s too small, and besides, the team already has a pretty good kicker. Wheelchair Dad asks whether Soccer Player doesn’t want to be on the team, or whether he’s just scared. Soccer Player wonders what will happen if he doesn’t make the team. Wheelchair Dad says that he can’t get any more “not on the team” that he already is, and encourages him not to fear failure.

This is actually a decent message. I kinda like this guy. (For now.)

The Plot Thickens.

The players’ fathers don’t think our hero is the right man for the job. During practice, Agitator Dad nabs Professional Ditherer to try to convince him to take over. He’s arranged a meeting with the headteacher, and he wants Professional Ditherer to come along to be installed as the new head coach. Professional Ditherer sees our hero looking over, and demurs. Agitator Dad heads back to the stands, with an admonishment to Professional Ditherer to think it over.

Our hero confronts Professional Ditherer when he comes back to the sideline, but Professional Ditherer maintains that they were just talking. Our hero wants to know whether there’s a problem, but before Professional Ditherer can answer, Soccer Player and Wheelchair Dad appear on the scene. Wheelchair Dad introduces himself, and asks whether Soccer Player can try out. After ascertaining that Soccer Player wants to play kicker, our hero calls the holder off the field. Even though he’s “already got a pretty good kicker,” he’s going to let Soccer Player try out. The holder thinks it’s REALLY important to let Soccer Player know that the main kicker is “a pretty good kicker,” so much so that he repeats it while they warm up. How many times do we need to be told? I mean, really.

Soccer Player’s tryout doesn’t start out too well. He sends several balls wide of the goalposts, then actually kicks the holder’s hand out from above the ball. Ouch. After that, he squares up and manages to make a few kicks.

A Serious Argument.

We don’t learn the outcome of the tryout then and there. Instead, we get to observe an argument between one of the players and his high-powered executive dad. I’ll call the player Atheist Strawman, for reasons that will become apparent shortly. Executive Dad wants Atheist Strawman to come home for the evening, but Atheist Strawman’s not playing. He takes off, and Executive Dad shoots a look of disapproval at his back. Our hero’s been on the sidelines the entire time, but he doesn’t intervene.

Wait a minute. Does anyone actually believe that this scenario would go down that way in real life? I’m pretty sure that your average fundagelical father would have a myriad ways to enforce obedience. I was half-expecting him to grab the kid and start beating him then and there.

Anyway, there’s no time to dwell on that, because we’ve just cut to a shot of an old guy wandering down the hallway with a Bible. (I must confess that my mind went to some very disturbing places when I saw this.) The Three Musketeers walk into their office, and Professional Ditherer asks our hero about the elderly guest. We learn that his name is Mr. Bridges, and he’s been “praying for revival” with the students since before our hero started coaching at Shiloh. (Bingo: “let’s pray together,” “prayer warrior,” AND “revitalisation!” Drink three times.)

Ah yes, another one of those meaningless Christian buzzphrases that translates to I want everyone to Jesus harder! These kids are at a Christian school in a majority-Christian state. A revival here would be the metaphorical equivalent of performing CPR on someone who’s alive and kicking–which is to say that it would be completely and utterly pointless.

The Three Musketeers briefly discuss Soccer Player’s tryout. Our hero decides to let him join the team as a backup kicker.

It’s Match Day Again.

My oh my, those cheerleaders’ outfits really are skimpy. The game tape looks much the same as the first time around, only this time we don’t see the scoreboard at the end.

We find out the score quickly enough, though, because we cut straight to our hero screaming at his players. The team lost 21-7, and it’s Shiloh’s first loss to Dewey County in a decade. Our hero rattles off a list of everything the team is doing wrong – not working together, not showing up on the field because they’re more concerned about what they’re doing that evening, missing practice because of detentions, and general apathy. He finishes his tirade by asking the team “why are we here?” Good question, Coach. Good question.

We cut back to Soccer Player and Wheelchair Dad, who are painting their kitchen. Soccer Player doesn’t really seem to have an opinion on our hero’s explosion. He’s just glad he didn’t have to actually play. Besides, the team’s main kicker can kick a 45-yard field goal! Wheelchair Dad thinks Soccer Player could do just as well. Soccer Player is glad he didn’t play, because he can barely kick a 35-yard field goal and nobody can see him mess up if he’s not on the field.

Wheelchair Dad has “asked God since you were a baby that he would show how strong he is in your life, and that through you, people would see how good He is.” Holy run-on sentence, Batman! Soccer Player asks why God would make him so small and weak. Never fear, Wheelchair Dad has the answer! “To show how strong He is.” (God works in mysterious ways! Bingo.) Then, he suggests that they take a break from painting to have dinner.

In case you couldn’t tell, my opinion of Wheelchair Dad instantly plunged when I heard this speech. It’s disappointing, particularly because his advice is otherwise very good. If he could just keep God out of things, he’d be a very likeable character.

Soccer Player disappears. Wheelchair Dad gets out of his chair, and reaches up to paint the top of the cabinet, but he falls straight back down. Soccer Player runs in to check what happened. Wheelchair Dad saw a spot that hadn’t been painted, and “decided to take a swing at it.” I smell inspiration porn!

The contrast between Wheelchair Dad’s willingness to do anything and Soccer Player’s reluctance to try things is about as subtle as a runaway train. I’m very unimpressed by the whole thing. I’m disabled, and we don’t exist to fuel fantasies like this.

Think of the Baybees, Think Of The Lord.

Our hero goes to his doctor’s appointment. There, they learn that it is indeed his junk that’s malfunctioning. The doctor suggests IVF and adoption, but both are out of the family’s price range. I have to ask again, why are they thinking of having children if they can’t afford IVF or adoption? Do they think that the money to raise a child is magically going to appear in their hands?

When our hero heads back to school in the evening, he stumbles across Professional Ditherer and several fathers meeting with the headteacher. The fathers want our hero replaced with Professional Ditherer, but the head believes that our hero needs more time. The school is apparently losing booster support – I thought boosters were just a college thing, but my source informs me that independent high schools have booster clubs too. The meeting ends with no conclusion. Our hero is now on notice that Things Are Afoot.

Our hero gets home, and Trophy Wife immediately grills him about where he’s been all evening. She tried to call him, but couldn’t get through. When she asks whether everything is alright, he buries his head in his hands. Bit by bit, the story of the meeting comes out.

Trophy Wife suggests that he has a chat with his assistants tomorrow, at which point he has to tell her that Professional Ditherer was at the meeting. He vents his frustration about not being able to win, then tells her that he can’t give her the children she wants. “It’s me,” he laments, “like everything else is me.” Have either of these two thought any of this through?

Our hero’s response to all the bad news he’s getting is to go and see a counsellor. Nope, not really! It’s to Jesus harder, of course! He goes out into the forest and reads from his Bible, then shouts at the sky about how he needs guidance from God. (Bingo.) Trophy Wife wakes up and finds him missing from the bed, so she goes out in her dressing gown to find him. He asks her whether she’ll still love the Lord if he never gives them children. She just cries.

This scene is the clearest sign that our heroes are living in a deeply messed-up culture. With the amount of stress that they’re under, I would advise them to seek professional help to deal with it. However, because fundagelical culture discourages its adherents from seeking help with difficult situations, they practice the time-honoured tradition of giving all their troubles up to God.

I bet you that if our heroes never have children, everyone around them will call it “part of God’s plan.” Just like it’s “part of God’s plan” when people are raped and abused, when children die before their time, and when all manner of other horrible things happen. There is a very good reason that I have adopted the Reverend Timperator’s Mad Blood God of the Desert moniker–the Christian God and his culture are rotten to the core.

In Which Inspiration Porn Makes Me Grr.

Back to the gridiron. Wheelchair Dad is grinning on the sideline as Soccer Player attempts a field goal. It sails wide left, which causes Wheelchair Dad to cringe. Soccer Player’s teammates encourage him to make it next time.

As they leave the game, Soccer Player says to Wheelchair Dad that he doesn’t know why he’s on the team. Wheelchair Dad is more concerned with whether his son did his best. Soccer Player apparently knew he was going to miss it before he kicked it. Wheelchair Dad points out that if he accepts defeat, that’s what he’s going to get.

Up to this point, I’m with Wheelchair Dad. And then he comes out with “I can’t walk, should I just stay home and pout about it?” It’s disability inspiration porn again! Just stop, Kendrick. You’re not winning hearts and minds with this.

In the meantime, our hero stumbles upon Professional Ditherer having a chat with Agitator Dad. This time, he chooses to step in. He stares Agitator Dad down for a few seconds, and Agitator Dad tucks his tail between his legs and skulks off. Professional Ditherer protests that Agitator Dad came to him, and our hero tells him that he needs to pick a side and stay with it. Praise the Lord, for he has finally blessed our hero with a spine! Gag.

He Felt Led, Y’all.

Mr. Bridges pays our hero a visit in his office. He spouts a couple of Bible verses, then declares that he “felt led” to come and tell our that the Lord isn’t through with him yet, and that he’ll continue to bloom at Shiloh until God sees fit to uproot him. (Double bingo.) Our hero’s been doing plenty of praying, but he hasn’t seen too many results. This leads him to question whether Mr. Bridges really “felt led” to visit him.

OF COURSE he did, y’all! It’s not like he knows that our hero has a losing record, oh no! (As we later find out, he listens to all the games on the radio.) He gives our hero a little spiel about how he needs to prepare his fields for God to send the rain, and then he departs.

This encounter sets our hero to thinking. He spends the evening writing up all the things he’s going to change in his football program. Surprise: it’s one of those come-to-Jesus listicles that the SBC loves so much! (Bingo.) He shows it to his wife, who thinks that his new team philosophy applies to all of life, not just football.

So just Jesus harder, and everything will work itself out! Got it.

The Philosophy In Action.

At the next practice, our hero offers $10 to anyone who can name a team that won the state championship more than five years ago. Nobody can correctly name any historical winners. Our hero declares that this is at odds with winning games being the primary purpose of the team. He introduces his new philosophy, which boils down to start Jesusing, and if you already do, then Jesus harder. (During the course of this speech, we bingo “Honour God,” “Spiritual Warfare,” and “The Word of Christ.” Drink three times.)

The upshot of this is that the entire point of the team is now to glorify God, no matter whether they win or lose. Does this mean that God will repair the brain damage that these kids get from playing football?3

I can’t help but compare this movie to Gridiron Gang, a film based on the true story of a team at a California juvenile detention camp. A corrections officer decided to do something about the carousel of kids returning to the camp by setting up a football program. He believed that the kids’ achievements on the field would give them motivation to stay away from gangs and crime upon release. He was right. The kids on his team had a recidivism rate just above 20%, compared to 75% for the camp’s general population. One of the players on the team in its very first year went on to get a football scholarship to college, then to briefly play in the NFL.

The film is a dramatised account of things that actually happened. As in the movie, the coach started the first practice by telling his players that all of them ended up at the camp by losing. He promised them that at the end of the season, if they did things his way and gave the team their best effort, they’d be winners instead. Over the course of the season, the players’ attitudes changed. They developed self-esteem, and began to take pride in their achievements. Unlike in this film, everything that they achieved was theirs to own.

My source and I talked at length about the purpose of high school football teams. We came to the conclusion that at the high school level, all sport should be about giving kids that sense of achievement. It’s about building resilience. It’s about providing the opportunity to be part of a collective, and teaching kids to work together. Even for people who are working towards a future in college or professional sports, the high school level is where they learn important skills that they need in the pros. If everything your team ever achieves is put down to divine intervention, you’re doing it wrong. Since God makes all the decisions anyway, what’s the point?

As well as demanding respect for authority, our hero manages to throw in a jab about honouring God while surfing the Internet alone. The camera zooms in on one of the players, whose eyes immediately fall to the ground. (Bingo.) Because shaming teenage boys for their natural sexuality is just so Godlike, y’all! Our hero ends the speech by asking the team what they’re living for, with the heavy implication that they really ought to be so grateful for their existence that they Jesus for every moment of it. As a motivational speech, it really doesn’t cut it.

The Death Crawl.

Our hero starts practice by declaring that if the players’ attitudes stink, then their hearts must not be right with God. The team’s Reluctant Leader points out that our hero is being very preachy. Token Black Coach sniffs his jersey, then shakes his head. Our hero declares that if everyone’s attitudes are fine, then they’ll all be okay with the “death crawl.”

The “death crawl” involves the players crawling ten yards with another player on their back, legs in the air, holding their pads. The team lines up on the goal line, and they all crawl ten yards. They collapse to the ground, exhausted.

One of the players asks how strong their next opponent is. Reluctant Leader doesn’t think the team can win. Our hero disagrees. He asks Reluctant Leader and another player to stand up. They’re doing the death crawl again, but this time, Reluctant Leader will be blindfolded.

What ensues is 110 yards of Reluctant Leader crawling along the ground, his teammate on his back. He wants to give up at the 30, but our hero won’t let him. When he starts to flag at the end of the field, our coach screams at him to just take a few more steps. He finally collapses in the endzone.

The Rise of the Reluctant Leader.

As far as our hero is concerned, this shows that Reluctant Leader can step up and put in more effort. He declares that Reluctant Leader is the most important person on the team, and that God has gifted him with leadership ability. After some encouragement, Reluctant Leader agrees to give the team his all. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think Jesus needed to be invoked to get there. Nor do I think that Reluctant Leader’s abilities are God-given.

I asked my source what they thought of this scene. They’ve never heard of an exercise like this being used in football practices, and they don’t think it’s safe for either person involved. While some coaches work their players very hard, my source is of the opinion that the injury risk of the death crawl is too high to make it a viable option for even the most punitive teams.

The practice ends. Token Black Coach thinks that if the kids on the team can just get Jesusing, it’s going to change their lives. He wants to be counted in. So does Professional Ditherer, who’s finally stopped dithering and made up his mind to stick with our hero.

That’s It, Folks! (For Now.)

Next week, we witness the TOTALLY REAL FRUITS of our hero’s newfound hard-on for Jesus! (Spoiler: I’m going to be very drunk by the end of this movie.)

Here is the Bingo Card, as of this point:

At the end of Part 1.

See you next week!


1 Trademark British understatement. (Back to the post!)

2 Jon Bois’ piece, Go to Homeschool, is as relevant to the regular topics here at Roll to Disbelieve as it is to the quality of Georgia’s education system. (Back to the post!)

3See also: Concussion, a film based on the true story of the discovery of trauma-induced dementia in former NFL players.. (Back to the post!)

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Lord Snow Presides is our off-topic weekly chat series. I’ve started us off on a topic, but feel free to chime in with anything on your mind. Pet pictures especially welcome! The series was named for Lord Snow, my recently departed white cat. He knew a lot more than he ever let on.

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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...