Cross country isn't a glamor sport, but that doesn't mean you should run away from "The Long Green Line."
Cross country, which involves teams of runners traversing hill and dale for points, doesn't attract a lot of attention, but there are great stories to tell; this documentary is more about the people who run than about the sport in which they compete.
Its focus is legendary coach Joe Newton and his York High School program, from neophyte freshmen recruited from the halls of the Elmhurst school to Newton, arguably the greatest high school coach in the country, regardless of sport.
Former York students Matthew Arnold (producer/director) and Brady Hallongren (producer/director of photography) have captured the tumultuous 2005 season that led to (spoiler alert!) York's 25th state title. Along the way you watch Newton deal with the dismissal of two of his top runners for their involvement in an arson and see how the Dukes pull together to overcome adversity.
Two of the show's biggest stars never scored a point for York High. Senior John Fisher, a high-functioning autistic teammate, and freshman Connor Chadwick, who has cerebral palsy, are inspirational.
The road to another state championship is compelling, but more interesting is Newton's relationship with the team as a whole, whether they be top runners Matt and Eric Dettmen or "Group Six" runners—the slowest of the slow.
"The Long Green Line" shows that cross country at York, which now has 26 state titles, is more than just championships.
"The Long Green Line" will play at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 16; 4:30 p.m. Aug. 17; noon Aug. 29; noon and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30; noon Aug. 31; and noon Sept. 1 at the York Theatre, 150 N. York St., Elmhurst. Tickets are $6, available at the box office or online at classiccinemas.com. For more information, visit www.longgreenlinemovie .com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun