View Full Version : The High School Runners

July 16th, 2016, 09:18 PM
This script 'concept' was inspired by my real-life experience with the Eastern High School (New Jersey, USA) boys cross-country team as well as the track-and-field film Chariots of Fire. I plan to keep working on it until it is fully fleshed out.

I know it isn't yet, but I was so excited about this 'concept' that I wanted to have something presentable and up-and-running on this board. In the meantime, I will keep taking notes (and watching Chariots of Fire!).


{Scene: Raj's Den, Private Estate in upstate New York}

[Enter Mark, Raj's friend]

RAJ: Hello, old friend. It's been forever.
MARK: Yes, you look well, if old.
RAJ: I'm only 65.
MARK: I'm a young 64.
RAJ: What brings you out to my estate, chum?
MARK: A friend of mine is a writer, and he wants to write a synopsis of our high school cross-country 'experience.'
RAJ: The great tragedy. I suppose you want me to help you compose notes for this writer friend of yours.
MARK: Yes, I think he has the talent and ambition to bring out the fire of the story.

[Exit to narrator who explains the boys cross-country experience at a New Jersey high school which Raj and Mark were discussing as we see flashback images of the experience itself]

NARRATOR: It is the autumn of 1995, and the well-accomplished and flourishing Cherry Grove High School boys cross-country team is preparing for a pivotal season. For the past three years, Cherry Grove has been the conference champion, and it now seeks to move to the next level and obtain the state championship. It has reason to feel hopeful. Its #2, #3, and #6 runners have trained all summer and are now stellar in long-distance running ability. Its #1, #4, and #5 runners have honed their skills and are sculpted to perfection, making the team nearly perfectly reliable in terms of rotational flexibility. It's almost as if any one of the top 6 runners could win a given race. Raj is the #6 runner but is now arguably the best. Mark is the #4 runner but can now go head-to-head with the #3 runner. The coach gives a speech.

COACH: Cherry Grove is poised to crush its conference rivals Tomlinson and will certainly compete handsomely for the state title. Only the perennial New Jersey state titans Orange High stands in our way. Raj will carry the torch, and if the others do what they are capable of doing, there's nothing standing in our way.

NARRATOR: After the first two big conference races, the New Jersey high school athletics sports reporters are going insane about Cherry Grove's excellence. They are being touted as potentially the nation's best underdog-to-champion calibre boys cross country-team...ever. However, before the third race, a qualifying showdown with Orange High that will foreshadow the state title race, Raj is crippled and paralyzed for life from the waist-down in a car accident, and the #2 runner moves to Europe with his mother after his parents divorce where he, ironically, captures a provincial boys cross-country crown (in Austria). Mark and Raj are drinking beers at Mark's house, brooding about what could have been a truly incredible moment for high school athletics and boys cross-country.

[Cut back to Raj and Mark in Raj's den]

RAJ: It was the greatest Hindenburg for high school sports, Mark.
MARK: Yes, I know, but this writer friend of mine has the knack to bring out all of the sentiment.
RAJ: Many of us simply want to forget it happened.
MARK: We shouldn't forget. We should honor the glory of that lost opportunity.
RAJ: Aah, the romance of unrequited success...sounds like a grievance or grudge.
MARK: That's America though, isn't it?
RAJ: Tell that to our #2 who won that crown in Austria.
MARK: Haha, you know what I mean?
RAJ: Maybe I do, but tell me anyway.
MARK: Americans are risk-takers. We deify the 'wild ones' (e.g., Bonnie and Clyde). Maybe Cherry Grove died to pronounce the dream.
RAJ: Right. And maybe your friend's book will bring out that strange memory of dreams-become-poems.
MARK: It's worth the effort. I will give him notes about the climate of cross-country at the time, its exciting pace.
RAJ: Alright. I will write up some notes about the emotional impact of my injury.
MARK: Do you regret your injury? That injury and the departure of our #2 runner rendered us only good enough to be simply conference champs again.
RAJ: I don't regret anything. I only wish there was a movie about it!

[Cut to flashback scene where the Cherry Grove coach is brooding about what could have been while watching the American bank robbery romance film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid]

COACH: Those kids lost something fierce. I hope America remembers their bullseye spirit.

INSERT FUTURE: More dialogue and scenes about the climate of high school boys cross-country at the time and the developing renewed friendship of Raj and Mark who are now old men.




Steven McKnight
August 8th, 2016, 07:38 PM
Hm, well, I do like the concept. The dialogue feels a little bit clunky, though, as if it's trying too hard to be intellectual. But that might just be because it's written-out, and not spoken.