The team went through a very challenging formation phase because there was a lot of resistance to integrate the school and football team. White players were concerned about loosing their starting positions and were upset that their Head Coach (Bill Yoast) was demoted to Assistant Coach, which almost caused them to quit the team. The black players were under a lot of pressure as well, being placed in a white school and knowing that they would be subject to a lot of hatred. Both the new Head Coach (Herman Boone) and Coach Yoast initially did not want to take on their new positions.
An important part of the formation phase that helped the team come together was when Coach Boone integrated the buses that were going to the football camp. Instead of allowing the players to choose what bus to go on, Boone split the buses into offensive or defensive sides to immediately make the black and white players be around each other. Coach Boone also made the players bunk with someone not of their race and each player was given an assignment to get to know someone else and report back to him. Although this caused tension, it ultimately helped the players realize that they have more in common than differences and began the bonding process.
Another important moment of the formation phase occurred when the black leader (Julius) and the white team captain (Gerry) confronted each other about the fact that the white players were not blocking for the black players and vice versa. Since they were not performing well or running good plays, both Julius and Gerry agreed to make sure that everyone would play as a team. This quote from Coach Boone really sums-up their formation phase, “ If we don’t come together, you too will be destroyed.”
One of the first examples of primary tension that occurred in the film was when Louie, a white player, sat down at an all black table during lunch. This was the first time that either a black or white player made an...