Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yreka High Cross Country:Miners depicted in new Kevin Costner movie

At the 1987 California Cross Country state meet (the first one), McFarland won the Division III boys race (only 3 divisions back then) with Robert Louis Stevenson 2nd and Yreka 3rd. You can check out the complete results of that meet at this link. I have not seen the movie yet but it appears the Palo Alto team is the rival which is interesting since Palo Alto didn't qualify for the 1987 meet. Based on a true story indeed.


Nils said...

I believe the operative term is "based on..", which always leaves room for departures from what really happened, in order to make a story more dramatic, more appealing, or the like. Palo Alto seems to have been chosen as a sort of villain in this drama, representing the intolerance and privilege that confronted these kids in real life.

If you check out demographics for McFarland today, it's still far below average in income, home ownership, and the like. These kids had to work very hard just to go to practice, much less win!

Is there a book out there, something I could read and share with my son the runner, where the actual events are given? For one thing, by the end of the film I was totally confused as to where the meets were- all the venues looked like the mountains around Los Angeles- and wasn't that Griffith Park Observatory in one shot??

Anonymous said...

Great Movie even if it was only based on actual events. Does anyone know if they used current state-level runners and not just actors for the running scenes? Also, did they use McFarland students for the scene at the end when they show the real guys?

Anonymous said...

The runners from the other schools looked more like college runners than high school runners.
Another beef I have with the movie: In my experience runners are usually supportive of each other. They normally don't engage in the trash talking seen in other sports.
Of course my experience may not be the norm.
In the movie even rival coaches take some verbal shots at the Mexican kids.

Anonymous said...

Nils, there is a well-written Sports Illustrated article that details the story, at this link:

Also, since the film was shot primarily in Camarillo, CA, none of the sites local to McFarland or the Bay Area are used for the cross-country meet scenes.

Furthermore, a little "creative liberty" is taken for the state meet portrayal, with Griffith Park being the site for the 87 state meet.

Yet despite this, it is a TREMENDOUS movie. One that anyone with ties to running will appreciate. Disney did surprisingly well here, and exceeded my expectations. Coaches and athletes alike will appreciate this one. Go see it.

Nils said...

Anon 7:09 PM I totally agree that the movie is great; my observations about the actual vs depicted venue locations is not even a quibble; just a thing that I notice. I do appreciate that the SJ Valley scenes looked like the valley, both in the fields and in town. So many times I've driven hwy 99 and wondered what peoples' lives were like, and this film and the story go a long way toward filling in that picture.

hank said...

This is a good read on "The Movie Vs Real History":


Anonymous said...

I was surprised that the McFarland girls team which also qualified for the State Meet that year was not even mentioned. You would have thought they would have practiced at the same time or been at the meets together.

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