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Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
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Something You Can Use This Week: Three Weeks of "Gridiron Gang" Video Clip Ideas, including small group questions, Bible passage, and a wrap up talk
We know how you love free resources. So for THE
NEXT THREE WEEKS our EZINE will be featuring new VIDEO CLIP IDEAS for Gridiron Gang
which was released on DVD/Blue Ray today. This week, the topic is Forgiveness; next
week-Friends; week three-Christ's Change in Us.
Every once in a while a film is released that reminds youth workers that we can make a difference:
Coach Carter, Stand and Deliver, Renaissance Man... this is one of those films. And it's
riddled with discussion jumpstarters. If you haven't seen Gridiron Gang, stop by the
video store tonight and pick it up.
As I mentioned in my review, yes, there is some violence and pretty bad language speckled
throughout the film-a realistic glimpse of our institutional system. But don't throw out the
baby with the bathwater. This film is a gem. This is the type of film I would have shown to my
outreach clubs when I worked with a pretty tough group of campus kids. This raw film reveals a
realistic glimpse of street life, tough choices, and their consequences (no sex or nudity). The
film is very real, but it earns its PG-13 rating.
Main Point: Forgiveness frees us to move on
Attention Grabber: Movie - The Gridiron Gang Clip
The movie is about a counselor in the juvenile detention center who wants to give kids a second
chance. He starts a football team to teach them discipline, teamwork and accepting criticism.
This movie has several good clips that you could use to promote discussion. In the next three
weeks we're providing three different discussion starters on different subjects from this one
film. This is just one of them.
(CLICK HERE for IMDB's page of online
previews for this film. Trailer #1 and #2 are actual previews, 3-6 are various clips from the
film, just to give you a little taste.)
Clip: "How long did it take you to forgive your dad?"
In this scene Coach Porter has a one-on-one conversation with an inmate named Willie about
forgiveness. Use the following introduction to introduce the clip.
NOTE: Part of this clip is the same clip we use for another discussion from this
movie about Christ's change in us. But this write-up (other than the movie description) is
Today I want to show you a clip from the movie The Gridiron Gang. Many of you have
already seen this movie, but for those who haven't, this scene is a conversation between a
juvenile prisoner named Willie and Coach Porter, played by The Rock. Coach Porter is a counselor
in a juvenile detention center who wants to give kids a second chance. He starts a football team
to teach them discipline, teamwork and accepting criticism. In this scene, Willie, one of the
players and inmates in the institution, is having a deep conversation about the changes happening
to him in the institution. Since playing football, Willie is making better choices. But he's
having trouble accepting the fact that he can be a winner, not just in football, in life. The
barrier that is in his way is forgiveness.
Start the clip at 1 hour, 31 minutes and 51 seconds. Here's the dialogue.
Willie: (pause, hitting the wall, crying) I don't know what's happening to me, man!
END CLIP at 1 hour 34 minutes and 08 seconds.
Coach Porter: I do. (pause) You're not the loser you were when you first got here
Willie. You're just not used to being a winner.
Willie: (shaking his head) My father said I was a waste of his time and his money.
Coach Porter: Your father was a loser Willie. My old man was the same way. He spent so
much time tellin' me I was no good- telling me I was nothin', I believed him.
Willie: That why you're so pissed off all the time?
(they both laugh)
Coach Porter: Yeah. That probably got something to do with it. (sitting down next to
Willie) I know how you feel Willie. You get to the point where you expect to screw up. You
expect to fail. When we want to win we gotta let ?em go. Forgive ?em and move on.
Coach Porter: Forgive ?em. Other wise we give ?em too much power over us. And they
don't deserve it.
Willie: How long did it take you to forgive your dad?
(long pause. Coach considers what Willie asks... and takes a moment to respond.)
Coach Porter: Til just now. Til just now.
Willie thought he was a failure. He had no hope, because his father had always told him that he
was a waste... Willie subconsciously believed him. He almost expected to screw up. He expected to
fail. But Coach Porter told him the secret to moving on... the secret to overcoming that failure:
Divide into Small Groups:
Let's go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we'll come back
together for a final word.
CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS VIDEO CLIP IDEA
INCLUDING SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS,
SCRIPTURE, AND A WRAP UP
Featured Article: The Games We Play... and the Consequences We Never Saw: Woman Dies from Water Drinking Game
by Jonathan McKee
I've heard a lot of youth workers use the phrase, "Well, it's easier to
get forgiveness than permission."
Sometimes true. But what if the person is injured... or even dies?
A woman died less than a week ago playing a stupid and seemingly harmless game on a radio
station. Could they have seen the warning signs?
One of the most popular resources on our web site is our SICK & TWISTED GAMES page, one of the
many sub-pages on our GAMES & ICEBREAKERS page. This page provides games such as HAPPY SHAKE,
where kids drink a blended McDonald's Happy Meal, or... GREEN OATMEAL, where kids have a
contest eating green oatmeal, only to be shown a video afterwards of how the oatmeal was made!
(You gotta check that one out!)
Gross can be fun, and it can serve as a good draw. But can it get out of hand? Does creativity
sometimes trump safety?
For years we've been discussing the pro's and con's of some of our games and activities. Those of
our readers who've been long time subscribers of our EZINE probably remember when we wrote about
some of these issues, like the Chubby Bunny deaths or the "youth pastor feeding dog food
to his kids" lawsuit (CLICK
HERE). Some of you might even remember World Magazine taking cheap shots at our web site and
our response to them (CLICK HERE
and check out both of these articles).
As youth workers, many of us excel at fun or even crazy, but some of us lack responsibility and
discernment. Believe it or not, you can have fun, and still be responsible. You can even be gross,
but not belittle, or haze.
Over the years we've made a lot of adjustments to our game pages, removing and editing games as
needed. We've made efforts to talk about safety, providing articles like
Costly Mistakes and
Their Unforeseen Consequences. We'll keep providing articles to stimulate thinking in
this area. Because sometimes it's better to avoid certain activities all together... than to have
to seek forgiveness when it's too late.
I leave you with this article to consider, from my local paper just yesterday.
Mom's Last Hours Recalled
Other contestants in radio contest say
woman drank over half a gallon of water.
By Christina Jewett - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, January 15, 2007
Contestants in a radio stunt called "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" revealed new details Sunday about
an on-air water drinking contest that left a 28-year-old mother of three dead.
Jennifer Lea Strange died after drinking well over a half gallon of water Friday during the
"Morning Rave" program on The End (KDND, 107.9 FM). About 18 contestants vied for a Nintendo
Wii gaming console by drinking as much water as they could without going to the bathroom;
Strange took second place.
James Ybarra, a Woodland man who gave up after drinking eight 8-fluid-ounce bottles of water, or
half a gallon, said that Strange kept going.
Most contestants were hoping to get the console for their children, he said. Strange showed
contestants photos of her two sons and daughter.
"It is sad that a mother had to lose her life to get something for her kids," he said. "None of
us knew this could be a risk to our health."
The Sacramento County Coroner's Office said Saturday that Strange died of apparent water
intoxication. A preliminary investigation didn't reveal any "life threatening medical conditions
to explain her sudden death."
John Geary, general manager of Entercom Sacramento, which owns KDND, did not return messages left
Sunday on his cellular and home phones. In an e-mail message to The Bee, he said:
"We were stunned when we heard this news. We are awaiting information that will help explain how
this tragic event occurred. Our sympathies are with the family and friends of Jennifer Strange,
as they deal with circumstances that are so difficult to comprehend."
Strange's husband, William Strange, 27, said late Sunday he was not ready to discuss his wife's
death publicly. He released a photo of his young family, and a brief written statement describing
his wife's generous and optimistic nature, and her devotion to her family.
"Friday, Jennifer was just her bright, usual self," he wrote. "She was trying to win something
for her family that she thought we would enjoy. ... We miss her dearly. She was my girl."
The death touched a nerve throughout Sacramento and was publicized in news outlets from as far
away as Toronto, London and Sydney, Australia.
Locally, The Bee's Sunday story drew numerous comments from readers. Some said it is common
knowledge that downing water in such quantities is dangerous and that the contestants were
responsible for engaging in such risky behavior. Others blasted the station for recklessly
endangering people's lives.
Gina Sherrod, who competed with Strange in the contest, said her family listened to the radio
show, and told her that a nurse was on air warning that drinking too much water is dangerous.
Sherrod said a DJ rebuffed the nurse, saying the contestants signed waivers that addressed only
publicity issues and made no mention of health or safety concerns.
Sherrod said she had no idea what risk she had taken until she saw news of Strange's death.
"I was so scared," she said. "I had the hardest time going to sleep last night because I was
afraid I wouldn't get up."
Sherrod sat near Strange during the contest, which began shortly after 6 a.m. Friday in a break
room at the radio station's offices on Madison Avenue.
Contestants had qualified by recounting the worst Christmas gifts they'd received.
Strange told Sherrod her worst gift was a set of flower-shaped champagne flutes wrapped like
roses that shattered when she opened them.
Participants were each given 8-fluid-ounce bottles of water. They had two minutes to drink a
bottle, waited 10 minutes, then drank another bottle.
The women chatted. Strange told Sherrod she and friends had sixth-row tickets to Friday night's
Justin Timberlake concert at Arco Arena.
Sherrod said the contest room was quiet at first, but morning disc jockeys Trish, Maney and Lukas
and radio personalities Carter and Fester came in and out of the room, pumping up the
"We did it like we were drinking shots," Sherrod said. "Instead of saying 'cheers' we would say
'Wii' and then shoot it."
Ybarra, the Woodland man, said Fester went outside and sprayed the window with water and turned
on a faucet to tempt contestants to use the bathroom.
"As time went by, it got harder to drink those small bottles," Ybarra said.
After contestants drank eight of the 8-fluid-ounce bottles of water, radio staff gave them larger
bottles to drink, Ybarra said. That's when he left.
Sherrod drank half of a larger bottle before she ran out of the room and vomited.
"I felt drunk and really out of it," she said.
Sherrod left then. Strange was still a contestant.
"I spent the last hours with that poor woman. I couldn't believe it," Sherrod said.
After the contest, Strange had planned to go to work. She called a co-worker at Radiological
Associates, crying. She had a headache and nausea and had to go home, said co-worker Angela
Krause. Another employee tried unsuccessfully to reach Strange. She asked Strange's mother to
check on her at her Rancho Cordova home. Strange's mother found her daughter dead.
The coroner's office said the final cause of death is not expected for several months.
Water intoxication -- or hyponatremia -- occurs when sodium levels in blood dip too low.
Two years ago a 21-year-old fraternity pledge at California State University, Chico, died after
a night of hazing during which he drank excessive amounts of water. Four members of the
fraternity later pleaded guilty to charges including involuntary manslaughter.
Sacramento Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said Sunday that no investigation had been
started on the case.
Friday's water drinking contest was not the first in the radio industry. Dave Gross, 46, a
landscaper from Victorville in Southern California, said Strange's death brought back bad
memories. He won a pool table, bar and bar stools last summer after winning a water drinking
contest staged by a local radio station. He became violently ill afterward and wound up in an
"When I heard about the woman in Sacramento, it sent a chill over me," Gross said Sunday. "This
woman lost her life over a Wii. I could have lost mine over a pool table."
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT SACRAMENTO?S LOCAL
CBS NEWS STATION?S WEB SITE FOR EVEN MORE UPDATES,
ARTICLES, VIDEO AND AUDIO ABOUT THIS TRAGEDY
And please remember to keep the family in your prayers.
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