"Go Tigers!" is a rare behind-the-scenes chronicling of a remarkable season for the Massillon Tigers high school football team, played out in a small rustbelt town that draws its identity ...
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"Go Tigers!" is a rare behind-the-scenes chronicling of a remarkable season for the Massillon Tigers high school football team, played out in a small rustbelt town that draws its identity from football. During the course of the season, THREE YOUNG STARS emerge who are forced to carry the burden of the town and their teammates as they confront their uncertain future. Written by
Todd Rohal's 1986 short documentary "Tiger Town" (which seems to be completely unavailable anywhere) offers an earlier look at Massillon and its football culture, and seems a probable inspiration for this film. See more »
You know, people walk around and they say 'Oh, I'm from New York.', and you're like 'So what? I'm from Massillon.', you know?
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I found this doc to be a pretty realistic portrayal of life in Massillon, which I'm sure is not unique, as far as small, mid-western towns are concerned. I was one of those kids who was not a football player (though not an Insane Clown Posse type of person, either), and I was amazed at the social and career possibilities that I found to exist in the world beyond Massillon. Those of us who didn't believe that our high school years would be "the best years of our lives" (as our teachers at Washington High told us) left town and found the opposite to be true. I imagine that, for those who never left (and who condemn those who would criticize Massillon, based on the impression left by this documentary), those high school years actually were the best years of their lives.
I remember the steroid-using football players who, when they weren't busy trying to disrupt our classes, were being hand-held and coddled through the most basic of tests by the coach teachers. I also remember these same thugs showing up at parties and drunkenly, severely brutalizing any smaller guys that they could get their hands on (they would often lock a smaller guy in a room and take turns beating him for hours while someone else guarded the door - true story). They were never punished, ever (except by life itself, thank goodness).
Many (but not all) of the teachers at Washington High were primarily coaches who were given teaching jobs by the ex-coach administrators. They were generally terrible at their jobs, paid very little attention to students who were neither athletes nor pretty girls, and had little knowledge and no wisdom or life experiences to impart.
Teaching students core math and science skills was definitely not a priority at Washington High. Despite my interest in learning, I walked away from that place with a pretty terrible public school education. Most kids graduating from Washington High lack the competitive edge needed to make a living outside of a small Ohio town. One major lesson that I learned from attending public schools in Massillon is that if you want your kids to be able to compete with kids from the east or west coasts, you must never let them attend public schools.
I suppose that the best thing that one can say about Massillon is that it is such a soul- crushing, depressing place to spend one's childhood that it virtually drives away anyone with the remotest amount of ambition, as soon as they are old enough to escape.
It is nearly impossible to have any hometown pride for a place whose local culture has such sound disdain for education, knowledge and investing in itself (beyond sports). Unfortunately for Ohio, most (but not all) of the state suffers from this same, backward mindset.
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