I hope you’ll watch the gripping new release called Woodlawn, a biographical drama about the football legend “Touchdown” Tony Nathan. I’m not a huge fan of spectator sports, but my son Daniel’s brother-in-law was the gaffer (in charge of lighting) for Woodlawn, so I was really eager to see it for Jonathan’s sake. However, Alan and I were totally blown away by how moving and well done the movie was. (I liked The Blind Side, but I loved Woodlawn.)
#2. The movie itself was awesome. Woodlawn isn’t all rosy, but it’s all real. The ending was more complicated than “happily ever after,” but I’d rather a complicated resolution that was true than something that smoothed over the reality that our world isn’t always fair and good, wouldn’t you?
The setting is Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1970’s
(nicknamed “Bombingham” because of racial tensions and bombings). Tony Nathan was one of the first African Americans
to be integrated into a previously segregated public high school team. There was so much animosity and resistance to integration that Woodlawn School was almost shut down (vintage photos from that time), but then something wonderful happened
that transformed the team and rescued the school. All true. Tony went on to be recruited by Paul “Bear” Bryant
to play for the University of Alabama, and then he joined the Florida Dophins, serving as their starting running back in Super Bowls 17 and 19. Nathan had an illustrious career both playing and coaching football!
He was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame in 2006. Watch for the Light in the movie! It’s there everywhere! “But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Ephesians 2:13-14).