I’m not really sure why I’m reviewing SWEETHEARTS OF THE GRIDIRON. It’s a documentary on the Kilgore Rangerettes, the longest running (and first) dance and drill team to ever perform during a football half-time show. I’m way out of my league on this one but the underlying themes within the film are universal and the amount of dedication and work these young girls put into the squad is admirable. The film starts out a bit slow but picks up momentum when we are introduced to the girls the story is about. Then we get invested in their journey and hope their dreams will come true.
In 1941, Kilgore College started a dance and drill team, one that would change the face of football half-time shows forever. Their team would pride themselves on discipline and a sense of family, sisterhood. The film gives you a brief history of the squad through interviews with members (past and present) as well as college alumni and others whose lives have been affected by the world famous squad. The story then focuses on a group of young girls and the week before the team decides on the new recruits who will wear the uniform.
I’m not really sure how well this film will be received by audiences outside of Texas. It almost seems as if it will be predominantly embraced by folks who are or have been at the center of their fame. That being said, if mass audiences are willing to give it a try, I’m sure they’ll become invested in the story being told. The main issue I had was the first fifteen to twenty minutes. I had trouble connecting with the history being told about their start. This would have worked better, at least for myself, if it had been sprinkled throughout the rest of the film. I felt it took a little long to get to the girls who we become invested in. This is where the film truly shines. The work these young ladies do is unparalleled and seeing just how dedicated and how much this means to them all is very inspiring. I was never a part of a team in school of any sort and felt I had missed out. I always wanted to have that team spirit, the friends, and to have those special moments you could remember the rest of your life. These girls work and train through illnesses and injuries, the discipline by the directors of the squad teaches them lessons, ones they will carry with them through adulthood and could pass on to their own children. It’s an inspiring story, one for the whole family, and one that will inspire you.