UCLA’s women’s softball team, the Bruins, are no slouch when it comes to the game. Director Lynn d’Angona covered the 2000 season of the team for the same reason audiences are likely to come see this documentary: How does a team with 10 NCAA Championship titles and 11 National Championships manage to keep the same drive year after year in trying for those golden victories? Recently, the Bruins won the 2004 NCAA Championship and one answer is certain, which is its head coach, Sue Enquist. Enquist is a tough coach, yet one that understands each of her girls, particularly their strengths and weaknesses and what they need to do to improve.
The 2000 season typifies that of any team of any sport of any season. All the girls are driven to win, to keep up the power of the UCLA name, to show that they are a strong force. Yet throughout the season, besides many of the wins, there are losses, injuries, frustrations, and much more. For example, Courtney Dale, an incredibly strong pitcher, is sidelined for 11 games by a shoulder injury and when she is finally cleared to head back on to the team, it’s in a hitting capacity only for the time being.
Even though the girls must juggle their education with softball, there’s no problem with that, though one of the girls remarks that it’s difficult at times to study with her mother not there to tell her to do so. What’s more absorbing than anything else in the documentary is the game footage, as well as those moments captured as they happen, where Coach Enquist advises a couple of girls on how to handle their next plays, as well as blowing her top after a loss. Her years of experience show brightly when she says to the girls that if they decide to win one, lose one or win two, lose two, that’s nothing more than plodding along and that’s not what each season is about.
Every team in every sport wants to win. I don’t think any team, as bad as many of them are, play to lose. The Bruins have this undying optimism of multiple victories, the closeness that a team should share, and the plays that are amazing when they’re at the top of their game. Lately, I’ve been starting to get tired of these sports documentaries (no offense to the filmmakers, but seeing baseball as many times as I have probably attributed to that), but after seeing “Between the White Lines”, I finally realized why that was. I just needed a different view on a different sport and this documentary provides that in a very satisfying manner, showing a remarkable team that will never be forgotten.