Interview: Dave Christiano from Cross Country Racing Movie “Remember the Goal”

Posted on August 19, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Copyright 2016 Dave Christiano Films
Copyright 2016 Dave Christiano Films

In “Remember the Goal,” a new female coach fresh out of college takes over the cross country program at an all girls private Christian school and tries to lead them to their first state title. Real-life cross country coach Dave Christiano wrote and directed the film. In an interview, Christiano compared coaching and directing and what he did to make sure that this film, the first-ever to focus on girls’ cross country, was as accurate as possible.

What makes cross-country different from other kind of running events?

Cross country is an endurance race of 5000 meters in high school so it’s longer than any high school track running event. Cross country is a fall sport. Track is spring.

What do cross-country runners think about when they run?

Runners think mainly about their pace. If they are running too fast, they know a wall is coming and they will get very tired, start hurting and want to stop. It is so hard to run a race, say the last 1/3 of it, when you are dead tired and hurting from the pain of it. Correct pacing is very important and hard to do.

What did you to do make sure the cross-country running scenes were authentic?

As a former runner in high school and college, and a coach of two high school teams, I made sure the sport was portrayed with 100% accuracy. The pacing is right, the spacing is right, the finishes are right. The number of fans cheering is correct. I did no fantasy or foolishness to the sport that perhaps a movie would attempt to do. All of the lingo is correct that is heard at any meet. I did not need a technical advisor because I know this sport very well and follow it nationally.

Why is it especially important for young women to see female athletes on screen? Is it important for young men, too?

Girl’s athletics gets treated like a second hand sport and this is tragic. Girls compete just as hard as boys, just as well as boys, and are as athletic as boys. Because boys are bigger and stronger, they can run faster and jump higher. Everybody needs role models and each gender identifies with their own. It’s important to see strong female athletes and there are many, especially in running. Just look at the Olympics. The highest rated events are girl related in the Olympics. In cross country girls are closing the gap on boys when it comes to times. Girls playing sports build discipline and can keep them out of trouble. Cross country especially is a good sport for discipline.

How have the Rio Olympics inspired young athletes?

Everybody follows a winner and people are inspired by athletes who do well. Young athletes envision themselves competing for gold and it’s a motivation for them. Sports are a good thing.

How is directing different from coaching?

Directing and Coaching are pretty much the same. The key word is Preparation. Coaches and Directors must do their homework BEFORE the game or before you shoot a scene. They both guide, instruct, mastermind, and hopefully succeed.

What do you want people to talk about on the way home after seeing the film?

My hope is that people will be inspired and uplifted as a result of seeing the movie. I also hope the life lessons presented will be beneficial for tough decisions teens and parents have to make in their day to day living. Lastly, I hope that they reflect upon the Lord which can give the ultimate purpose in life.

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