Thursday, November 21, 2013


I can't quite remember where I found out about the Kickstarter campaign to get this documentary made a couple years ago, but I'm glad I did.

"Medora" is a documentary that was created under the direction of Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn. It is something well worth your time.

Growing up with the sport of basketball I always find myself seeking out stories about basketball in Indiana. Most basketball playing white kids growing up in the 80's were heavily affected by the movie Hoosiers. At the time of it release, the mystique of Indiana basketball was only further enhanced by Larry Bird and his legendary career and Bobby Knight's time with IU.

I've read that "Medora" is some sort of "anti-Hoosiers" movie. A film that Jeannette Catsoulis of the NY Times calls, "a mournful Midwestern ballad devoid of grace notes, “Medora” views the crumbling of small-town America through the eyes of the Hornets"

That's elegantly put but this doc only pulls the curtain back for this generation. A lot of small town Indiana crumbled almost a half century ago now after a somewhat brief industrial boom that brought in laborers from all over the country.

Larry Bird was born just a couple years after the small town team depicted in Hoosiers won the state championship and he grew up on punishing poverty. His folks split when he was a teen and his father took his own life a couple years later.

No HD cameras back in the 70s to capture Bird's legendary plight in French Lick (some of the themes can be seen in the 1979 film Breaking Away, if your are so inclined), but thankfully there are excellent documentarians in Rothbart and Cohn to capture things as they are now in Medora.

What we see with "Medora" is exactly what is left after all this time. The destitution is generations old now and it's through the prism of that hopelessness that we see the simple joy a single win can bring a lost community in a forgotten corner of the world.

It is beautifully shot and the story is masterfully crafted. Highly recommended.


Though my contribution might have been small, I am proud to have my name listed among the many contributors to this movie in the credits.

"Medora" can be watched now through iTunes or at

If you live in Columbus, Ohio you can check a screening (I'm planning to be there!) on December 10 at the Wexner Center for the Arts.


On a family trip back when I was a teenager with big dreams of playing for Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers I came to Bloomington, Indiana to visit extended relatives. I'll never forget one night heading out back to play some pickup ball with cousins.

At first it was just a couple folks out there watching. Before I knew it there were well over a dozen people from around the neighborhood pulling up lawn chairs to watch a normal game of pickup between a bunch of complete strangers. As a kid from Northern Virginia this might as well have been a scene from another planet.

I went on to play basketball for a while, even some in college, and have some great memories from it. But that night in Indiana. It wasn't about the celebrity that has always seemingly dominated the sport or the skill of Larry Bird the legend of Bobby Knight.

It was about the sport itself. How it is in the blood of every Hoosier. I'll never forget it.

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