Think Christian: Ben Affleck’s The Way Back and Christ-like Masculinity


In The Way Back, after leading his team in a particularly profanity-filled game, Bishop Hayes Catholic high school basketball coach Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) gets a visit from chaplain Father Whelan (Jeremy Radin). Citing the school’s Code of Conduct, Whelan urges Jack to curb his language. Jack responds with a smirking rejoinder: “So you want me to be more Christ-like?”

Jack’s comment makes his priorities clear. Bishop Hayes has been on a decades-long losing streak. The administration sought help from Jack, a phenom who won championships for the school as a player. He’s been given a team who doesn’t take the game seriously, and he can’t change their thinking if he has to worry about their weak sensibilities. 

Jack’s attitude mirrors that of almost every sports-movie coach.


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