Harlem Hellfighters documentary

I finally had a chance to catch up on some movies on my hit list & watched a really entertaining sport documentary. “Harlem Hellfighters” was about a High School football team based in Harlem, NYC which is run under a program hosted by the NFL. Head coach Duke Fergerson stepped up to the plate to take the challenge of teaching & being a mentor to these young kids in NYC. Coach Duke played in the NFL as a wide receiver for 4 or 5 seasons with the Seahawks & the Bills. He was very passionate about being the “foster parent/coach” for the Harlem Hellfighters who’s main purpose in his mind was to prepare these city kids for the next step up in adulthood, to make the right decisions, & to use football as a catalyst to go to college. The Harlem Hellfighters is a NYC based high school football team which ANYBODY that is going to High School in New York that does NOT have a football team in their own high school can try out for. Of course, the documentary shows a lot of bumps, flaws, & downfalls of the protaganists in the film, mostly pointing to the head coach. Coach Duke should be commended in his efforts in being a role model to these kids on his team, but there were a few instances in the film that made you scratch your head. One was for the ‘no mercy’ attitude of blowing out a team from the South Bronx. His excuse was that he lets his players call all the plays on the field despite them already blowing out the other team. This excuse was appalling! Players might call their own plays, but the coach should set the mood & has the final say with any doings on the field. Bad bad sportsmanship! The 2nd downfall seemed to be a lack of organization & planning of his own team. The NFL brasses who ran the high school program had to consul the coach a few times. The third & most critical seemed to point to the lack of communications between his players and himself. The coach seemed ‘out of touch’ with his players & did not seem to make himself available in terms of being human. The movie also portrayed the coach doing a horrendous job in judging talent on his team, almost giving his players false hope for some of the seniors playing in Division 1 colleges when in reality their football skills were marginal at best. All in all, Coach Duke had good intentions to uplift these kids to another level with the catalyst being football. If anything, this football program gives the kids another vehicle to ride out to better pastures. If you get a chance, watch the ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ documentary!

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