The movie opens with a sun flare coming through a side window of an experienced basketball gym. We are almost blinded but can make out the silhouette of a hoop, then recognize the lines on the floor below.
Suddenly, a swift, sweeping movement—not of feet, not a ball bouncing—a wet mop hits our sun-drenched gym floor. A man works the mop over the center court, delicately, before the whole scene fades to black, and a heavy-handed double entendre fills the screen: MOPPING THE FLOOR.
The story of a high school dropout, turned high school janitor, and his redemptive second chances, thanks to an understanding basketball coach and English teacher.
We fade back into the backlit court and see the janitor now taking more liberal and emphatic movements with the mop. We can see a semblance of basketball footwork, a dramatic Eurostep, cleaning the floor on each side on the way to the hoop.
Cut to a set of keys unlocking a janitor’s closet, as the janitor pushes his mop cart into the tight room, before sitting down on the simple bench that stares into his personal locker. Quick flashes between scenes of the janitor exchanging his work boots for old sneakers and an almost equally bleak scene from years ago when he was in juvenile detention and taking his few personal belongings out from a locker, changing into a t-shirt and sneakers for rec time.
Our protagonist is 20 years old, recently released from 3 years in juvie for an array of misdemeanors as a teen. Back out, he’s taken work at a local high school (not the one he dropped out of) as a part of his societal re-entry. The early hours give him a steady schedule, important in keeping him out of trouble, and giving him rare opportunities to shoot hoops, his only constant, before the school bell rings.
He gets to school before dawn, knocking out the early tasks so he can get shots up before the students arrive. Always, ALWAYS on a meticulously clean floor, surrounded by decades old State Champion banners.
The janitor knows the basketball coach has an office next to the gym, but it’s always locked (he checked), so he doesn’t realize the coach has an exterior door to it as well, and that the coach also gets to school early because he is balancing coaching duties with teaching American Literature classes during the day. The teacher didn’t even want to coach, but the school was desperate for someone and it afforded him a little cache with the principal, and a private office to get grading done. And then it stuck. Routine.
At first the janitor’s morning workouts were white noise, but increasingly they grew more distracting, and then eventually, spellbindingly captivating. The teacher, who hadn’t really cared about the school’s team since he was the captain in the late 70s, starts wondering about the janitor. A sparkle of inspiration that grows every morning until he finally approaches the janitor. Maybe he can help him work with the team this year?
As the teacher gets to know the janitor, he realizes that the janitor never graduated high school and could actually play for the team, if he can convince him to enroll, and pass a semester’s worth of classes.
What happens with the team and the janitor? Find out by funding this movie.