Long Green Line, The: Sports Documentary

“The Long Green Line” is the feature documentary that follows the York Duke¬ís 2005 Cross Country season as the runners seek their record 25th state title in 50 years. In the sport of Cross Country only the top five athletes per team score points and only seven are included in competition. “The Long Green Line” will premiere in DVD on October 14.

Coach Joe Newton has used the sport of Cross Country to teach simple but important life lessons to high school boys for the last 50 years. “lways do your best,” “Be on time,” and “it¬ís nice to be great but far greater to be nice,” are his mantras, which have turned the Boys¬í Cross Country team at York High School in Cross Country Town USA, Elmhurst, Illinois, into the winningest high school team in any sport in America. In other words, Newton turns boys into men, who carry his teachings with them throughout their lives.

The York team has 221 athletes participating under the tutelage of Coach Newton. Though 214 boys know they will have no influence on the season’s scores, they are moved to participate just to be in the presence of Coach Newton. Such a large team is both a blessing and a curse. Newton is able to spread his influence, but life lessons can go unheard when they have to trickle to so many ears. In the middle of the season, two of the star athletes are expelled from school after committing over $1 million in arson damage. The York team is forced to rebuild, to face a true test of what they have learned both physically and mentally.

The team is colorfully decorated with characters like the All-American Dettman Twins, the high functioning autistic with a heart of gold, John Fisher, the out of shape former football players who reside on the lowest rung of the team, and the freshman Connor Chadwick, who has cerebral palsy but is able to run without leg braces for the first time in his life.

“The Long Green Line” is not only a team, but a rite of passage. It is a lifeline for these young runners as they move from adolescence to manhood.

The film was directed and produced by Matthew Arnold who grew up in Elmhurst. The producer and director of photography is Brady Hallongren who also hails from Elmhurst and ran on the cross country team under Coach Newton. The film features music from “The Frantic.”

SRP: $19.95
Street date: October 14, 2008
Languages: English
Running time: 88 minutes
Presented in: Dolby Surround
Aspect ratio 1:66