Firstly, let me acknowledge that most people don't give a damn whether an inspirational story they liked is actually true or mostly bullshit. Personally, I don't see anything inspirational about stories that have to lie to you to convince you that the inspirational behavior actually results in success.
In the case of "Hoosiers", we're supposed to be inspired by the example of the 1954 Milan basketball team: if you really work hard and show determination and try your best you can overcome incredible odds and win championship basketball games.
PBS ran the movie tonight, uninterrupted by commercials or facts. Now, there are one or two facts. The school upon which the story is based, Milan, actually did shock a much larger school by winning the state championship in 1954. And they did win the final game in the last few seconds.
Most of the other stuff in "Hoosiers" did not happen in real life.
Now, I guess most basketball fans don't have a problem with the strategy of getting close or ahead of your opponent and then dragging the ball for four minutes. I'm not exaggerating: in the final game, Milan was trailing Muncie at 28-26 and their star player, Bobby Plump, held the ball for four minutes before taking a shot. Coach Marvin Wood, in fact, admitted that he thought they would lose if they simply played basketball against Muncie. He didn't think they could hang on. He didn't think, in other words, that there was anything particularly inspiring going on out there on the floor.
So he had his team hang on to the ball. Just stand there, holding it. Then he had Plump take a shot... which he missed. Brilliant strategy!
So Muncie, now in possession and leading 28 to 26, did not go the chicken-shit route. They played the game like you are supposed to, like athletes with class and integrity. And they shot. And they missed.
Milan hung onto the ball again until Plump was fouled. He sank both shots to tie the game. And then, inexplicably, miraculously, Muncie gave the ball away. They ridiculously gave the ball away with two minutes left. They handed it to Milan. Milan then killed off the clock and scored and the game was over.
That's inspirational? It's exciting and dramatic, like the a baseball through the legs of the first baseman, but it wasn't the particularly brilliant play of Milan that won the game for them: they actually lost the game, in terms of strategy and play. They won it back on sheer preposterous luck, a gift from Muncie, who had the game in their hands.
The strangest thing of all, to me, is that what actually happened is a far more compelling story than the Hollywood version-- it gets a bit tiresome watching all the boring speeches and the last second come-backs. Bit what really happened had drama!