In the poor urban area of Richmond, California, the only thing more common than the violence is that deliquesce within the high school system - especially on the Richmond basketball team. With inflated rates of murder, violence and local crime students have affiliated themselves with negative forces that will have detrimental results. Many youth end dropping out of school and of that, majority will wind up in prison. However, Ken Carter makes it his objective to be the catalyst for a massive social shift.
Taking the position of the Richmond basketball team coach, Coach Carter plans on inspiring the youth to continue their education and create safe, happy and successful lives for themselves. But, this of course is easier said than done. Many have tried to halt Carter’s process for social change and Timo Cruz, A player on the Richmond basketball team was the first. Cruz was the initial impediment against Coach Carter’s attempt shift the dynamic of the Richmond basketball team. When the team was first introduced to Carter and the new regulations he brought Cruz revolted against Carter’s authority.
Doing this by roaring vulgar threats towards Carter and claimed he wasn’t aware of the struggles that accompanied living in Richmond. Cruz’s actions can be justified based on his living conditions. Residing in a low-income, hostile, violent neighborhood, Cruz has not been socialized to deal with issues with sophistication and maturity. Rather, in Cruz living conditions, it is far more beneficial to create a guise of strength and solve issues through force. Carter did not tolerate this hindrance to his objective nor was he fazed by Cruz’s foul behavior.
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This resulted in Cruz leaving the team and deserts his team members. At this point, Cruz has become alienated. Which has resulted in his drug affiliation with his emotionally absent uncle, Renny. No longer sharing the commonalty of playing on the basketball team Cruz feels a sense of division from their players – especially when they win. As an academic delinquent who had was only familiar with failure Cruz greatly desires to taste success and return to the team. However, Carter’s rules were firm and he wouldn’t allow any lack of consistency in his team.
He assigned Cruz with the nearly impossible task of completing 10,000 pushups and suicides. When Cruz inevitable fails this task and his dreams of rejoining the team are crushed, the team members he had deserted early now help him complete the task based on the virtue of teamwork Carter invested in them. Cruz dependency on the basketball team can be seen in the most extreme case in the string of events that followed the shooting of his uncle, Renny. Cruz finds himself blood splattered at Coach Carter’s house, pleading for a spot of the Richmond basketball team.
This is because through the basketball team, Carter had created a safe haven, shielding the members from the horror of their violet urban community. For Cruz, the being a member of the team was for more than playing the game, it was being accepted into a safe family. Now accepted, polarizing where Cruz was at the beginning of the movie, he is now a condition to Carter’s movement. It is also thanks to Carter’s social change that Cruz is now excelling in many aspects of his life where he had previously given up on. Member to an undefeated team, thriving academically, the prospect of attending college is now conceivable.
Now, more than ever, Cruz has felt a sense of belonging and true friendship with his fellow players. From a sociological standpoint, Cruz can be defined as the extremist in the movie. His character is used to display the extremities in emotions and changes that occur within the story. In the beginning, Cruz passionately revolts against Carter’s administrative roles and represents an extreme social impediment that Carter must hurdle over. Then, ostracized for his actions, Cruz desires to feel acceptance and success of the Richmond basketball team.
This desire only increases when his Uncle had been shot in front of him. At this point Cruz is contrasting his beliefs and is a strong condition to change. Timo Cruz was a youth in revolt, possessing a strong hatred towards Coach Carter and the change he was bringing to Richmond. However, over the duration of the film Cruz recognizes that the social alterations Carter has brought have only enforced positive virtues of; respect, teamwork and effect upon the basketball team. Ultimately, Cruz is the unsung role model of Coach Carter, if he has the capacity to change – anyone can.
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