For my written assignment I chose to do it based on the movie ‘The Phenom’. The author and director for this film is Noah Buschel. A number of great actors are seen throughout this film; the main character is Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons), who has the central role as a Rookie Pitcher. Alongside we have his abusive father (Ethan Hawke), the supportive therapist known as Dr. Mobley (Paul Giamatti), Hoppers mother (Allison Ellise) and his girlfriend (Lousie Krause). This movie, described in a nutshell, starts off with a happy high school baseball jock that after becomes a rookie pitcher.
Unfortunately his mental health took a turn for the worst once his drug dealer father came out of prison. Teachers, his girlfriend, and his parents obviously were not able to help him get back on the right track. Luckily for his new team recruitment he was placed on a minors team that really cared about him and for that reason got him a therapist to help him along his journey. While watching ‘The Phenom’ I noticed that this movie puts a lot of focus on many important concepts that were presented in class. However, the concept that I chose to pick and found most vital is the topic on mental health.
Pain is real, but so is hope. This movie illustrated real life cases that occur to many elite athletes in the real world on a day-to-day basis. First and foremost, one must always remember that if he/she is suffering from any type of illness that they must immediately seek treatment. As I learned from class and the film, this is much easier said then done. A good example of this was seen throughout the beginning of the movie, when Hopper is trapped in his own body physically but more then anything mentally. With constant fear running through his mind, he did not know where to find the right help.
While many doctors and therapists announce that resorting to the family often has positive results, that case was not evident for Hopper. His father is very violent and cruel and instead of trying to help his teenage son, he only makes his life harder while causing many unnecessary problems. On top of that his mother was not there to be able to nurture him because that would get her in the way of his dad. Hoppers girlfriend also was not very supportive or helpful and would see baseball as just another sport.
Not having the right people to talk to only causes more negativity to ones mental health; this is because the person is taught to only store and bottle everything up. What this movie shows is the fact that other people can easily affect ones mental illness. It is important to not immediately assume that the person with the disorder is at fault for catching it on his or her own. It was Hoppers wild pitch that plunged him from rookie to minor. The poor kid now had even more problems to deal with.
Luckily the new team he was on showed more emotions towards his presence, it was after this decline in his life that he met Dr. Mobley. The doctor not only was there to listen to the fallen baseball stars problems, but he helped instill therapy in his life. As we learned from class, therapy is very helpful for many people and it helps them get back up on their own two feet. In order to deteriorate the illness one must have a strong internal locus of control, this primarily means believing in yourself and your health. Instead of thinking about failing it is important to adjust and make the best out of your life.
It is essential to have a growth mindset in order to get anywhere, by letting outside forces determine your future you will not make matters any happier. Having good therapy linked with social support has many positive outcomes that can ultimately lead to victory, this was seen numerous times when his sport therapist Dr. Mobley took care of Hopper and gave him the right autonomy. In many cases athletes enjoyment for the sport slowly fade away, whether they no longer have the right energy or due to a decline in their self-efficacy levels, either one could play a role on ones mental health.
As we all know mental illness is quite common in the sport field and talking usually makes the circumstances slightly better. Hoppers case is very unique in the sense that at one point in his sporting career he was a never-missing pitching legend and now he fails miserably when attempting to do even the simplest drills. It is evident that during his peak performance moments that the young athlete portrayed the right attitude coupled with a strong champion mindset. However, during this time in his sporting career his father was not in the picture.
As soon as he was released from prison that is when poor Hoppers mental health took a turn for the worse. Mr. Hawkes who was also an athlete in the past could have been a great role model for his son, he could have taught him the right sport skills and instilled a positive healthy life-style. Instead the father constantly beats the boy in order to relive his own past. Any good athlete must know that learning is a life long process, one that involves a lot of constructive support and dedication.
It cannot be rushed or else problems will surely occur, the majority of these problems as we can see from this film are psychological and mental and can affect just about anyone. For Hopper on the other hand, it is understandable the he is afraid and worried about the decisions he makes and does not make. In the movie an excuse for his thoughts could be due to the fact that he is after all only a teen. In class we said that age is only a number; anyone can overcome mental illnesses and get back to their normal health with the right self-esteem and self-confidence.
Hopper no longer has the same positive mental attitude now that his father is in the big picture. His love for the sport is not there anymore. A champion after all is trained to see hard tasks as obstacles that they are willing to cross over. They do not let anyone or any type of pressure get in the face of their dreams. This is the key difference between a truly elite athlete that is willing to give it his/her all to reach the top and one that quits because he/she cannot take the heat.
It is quite evident that mental illness is no joke; there are a lot of factors that can affect the overall outcome; whether it be family, ones mind and attitude or lack of motivation. At the end of the day it is only Hopper who has full authority over his illness. As a tennis coach I see kids struggling with their mental health on a regular basis. Most of the time I try to get the parents involved right away because as we all know the more people available the more talking the patient can do.
Unfortunately in this film the father/son relationship was not exactly there, for this reason the boy was instead getting some help from a sport therapist. I personally think that if Hopper had his family as well as the therapist by his side helping him that he would be able to overcome any possible barrier. The boy as we know is a pro pitcher; one does not just become a pro over night. He reached that level with a lot of dedication and time; if he had the right attitude he should simply look back and follow the same routine and steps which first got him a rookie standing.
Again, it is much easier said then done, mental health however, is no joke and should always be treated in an organized and timely positive manner. As we’ve all heard the past is the past and the future is now, by ignoring the evils; in Hoppers case, his father and any scarring sport memories, then, and only then will the once upon a time rookie pitcher reach the highest ground; one that not only is full of homeruns but that also offers a truly phenomenal mental health.