Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) begins his life as a fighter, and his lifeÂ’s work becomes a process of fighting for the rights of others. Rising up from a childhood in a dysfunctional family, armed with a talent for public speaking and a winning personality, the young man makes his way to a Northwestern college, confident that he will ace his try-out for his idol Dr. Ben Padrow (Hector Elizondo), the coach of the winningest team in the history of the College Bowl. But Dr. Padrow shatters his dream when he rejects him. RichardÂ’s immediate reaction is to enlist in the army for a tour of duty in Vietnam. During combat, the young recruit loses his hearing to a bomb blast, and has to deal with this newfound disability on his return to civilian life in Oregon.