As people remain sheltered inside due to current public health concerns, everyone is looking for things to watch and read. For sports fans, this rings especially true, as practically every major sporting event has been canceled or postponed. Today, the Loyolan sports staff offers their picks for sports-related content to consume while games are on hold.
Alex Hutton, sports editor
"Ball Four" by Jim Bouton: If you’ve ever been even mildly interested in what baseball players say to each other in the dugout or what they do during road trips, you will want to read this book. In it, MLB pitcher Bouton chronicles his 1969 season while also providing plenty of anecdotes about his career and discussing a number of interesting characters throughout the baseball world. Lengthy but never boring and consistently funny, it provides a deeply authentic look at a side of the game that fans never get to see and offers musings and stories from which both the casual observer and the diehard baseball supporter will glean new information.
"O.J.: Made in America": Part of ESPN’s 30 For 30 documentary series, director Ezra Edelman tracks the rise and fall of NFL great and convicted felon O.J. Simpson, examining his life through athletic, cultural and political lenses without ever needing a narrator. It clocks in at nearly eight hours across five episodes, but the time commitment is very much worth it. Edelman pulls no punches in telling Simpson’s story thanks to dozens of interviews and brilliant use of archival footage. He makes sure that the documentary lives up to its name, painting a powerful picture of the environment in which Simpson became the man he is and sending a message that stays with the viewer long after that fifth episode concludes.
Ellie Kinney, asst. sports editor
"A League of their Own": An absolute must-watch for every sports fan, Tom Hanks fan or anyone who enjoys female empowerment. The film, set during World War II, tells the story of the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the American Midwest after many of the male athletes go off to war. It follows two sisters from California who are talented baseball players, and their journey in the league. Hanks plays the degenerate coach of the sisters’ team, looking to redeem himself after his fall from Major League Baseball. "A League of their Own" is funny, heartwarming and tells an often forgotten part of women’s history.
"Tom vs. Time": As a Patriots fan, I obviously have to recommend the Facebook Watch documentary. The world is shocked that 42 year-old Tom Brady is moving on to a new team for the first time, extending his already long NFL career, so I think people will enjoy seeing his routine and how he’s been able to sustain such a high level of sportsmanship for so long. The series gives a close look into Brady’s home life, training routine and mental preparation. Even if you don’t like him, "Tom vs. Time" will make you gain a new respect for the greatest quarterback of all time.
Nick Rossi, asst. sports editor
"Guru of Go": Essential viewing for any Lion, "Guru of Go" tells the story of coach Paul Westhead and the 1989-90 LMU men's basketball team. In its first season, the famous 30 for 30 ESPN docuseries produced the episode which highlighted the unorthodox career and style of Westhead. The documentary places emphasis on his time at LMU and the impact his team had on college basketball. It also recaps in detail the sudden passing of Hank Gathers and how it left both his teammates and family shell-shocked. Featuring interviews with those close to Gathers, "Guru of Go" provides an emotional depiction of the tragedy and triumph the 1989-90 team experienced.
"Last Chance U": There is plenty of content out there that focuses on high school, NCAA and NFL football. But what about community college football? This Netflix original docuseries shines the spotlight on the gritty world of football played at junior colleges. It is unique in that it does not have the glamour normally associated with playing football at almost any other level. For many community college football players, it is their last chance at a career in the game. Filled with gripping storylines and unique personalities, "Last Chance U" will fill the sports void of any quarantine.
Dean Anagnostopoulos, sports intern
"Hillsborough": This is a documentary about the disasters that occurred during the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989. It gives an in-depth examination of how the stadium was set up and how the overcrowding of thousands of fans into the stands ultimately led them to start jumping over gates and rails, resulting in 96 Liverpool fans' deaths. As the police were to blame for this incident, they tried to cover up their failings and put the blame on the fans, but in 2016 the jury found that the fans died unlawfully. It is a unique and very interesting story that not a lot of people know about. As a journalist, I was fascinated by the influence the media had while covering the story, and the impact that the coverage had on sports fans all over the world.
"Coach Carter" : This basketball film focuses on coach Ken Carter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, and his efforts to assist his alma mater in gearing up for a successful season. As he leads the team on a winning streak early on, things start to downward spiral as the players' grades start to suffer. Coach Carter, being of the mindset that academics always come first, shuts down their hopes of a championship season and experiences backlash from parents as he sticks to his decision of balancing school and a sport. During high school when I played a sport, it was always a struggle for me to keep up my grades. For that reason my mother would often not allow me to attend practices and games. This film reminds me that being a student is the most important thing and that coaches all over the U.S. possess a similar mindset.