The 5th Quarter is based on a true story about a young boy who is suddenly killed in a car accident. The story chronicles the struggles his family face as they try to make sense of the tragedy. The death of Luke Abbate forever changed his family's life when he died four days before his sixteenth birthday. However the life of his older brother Jon was chronicled in this story. Jon Abbate was playing football at Wake Forest university at the time of Luke's death.
In the 2006 season, after his brother's death, Jon convinced his coach to let him change his jersey number from 40 to 5, representing the number Luke wore on his high school football field. Then as the season progressed Jon would raise his five fingers to his parents in the stands at the start of the 4th quarter. Soon the other players, the fans and even the opposing teams would join in the raised number five as a memorial to the life of Luke Abbate. Soon the fourth quarter became renamed The 5th Quarter.
Inspirational movies can be a dime a dozen, however this one stands apart. Like The Blind Side, the family involved had a deep faith in God. Tragedy is no respect-er of beliefs, but how we respond to them can shape and inspire an entire nation.
The 5th Quarter is not preachy. There are no sermons or monologues laced with doctrine. In fact - far from it. The question 'if God is so good, how can He let these kinds of bad things happen' is approached in this movie. Yet, the credits roll without giving an answer. I admire that.
See, there is no answer to that question and when we try to wrap it all up neatly we cross a line into some gray waters. Without leaving you aching for resolution, this movie wraps up a time in this family's life without any nice neat answers.
Instead what they offer is hope.
Hope that this isn't the end. And we aren't alone. Hope that the untimely death of a beloved son, brother and friend is not the end of the story. God is still writing. He isn't finished with the Abbate family. He is just beginning to use them. Please check out their website and how they are using the pain of Luke's death to touch lives all over the United States.
I want to close with two things. One is a link to a music video of footage from the movie to a song that touched my heart. It was written for the film (I believe) and sums it all up so nicely.
Secondly, here are some powerful and inspirational words given by Jon's football Coach after a crushing loss. It stuck out to me as the theme I wanted to take away from the movie. And maybe even the answer to the age-old burning question ...
"Don't get too high and never get too low. Now let's pick each other up and play together. And remember ... we finish."
This journey of the Christian life is hard even without tackling issues such as this family has had to face. Let's do it together. Let's pick each other up and play life as a team. And most of all, let's finish ... together.