My eldest daughter (an avid reader and advocate of good story) continues to offer “free” commentary during my weekend television viewings. “Why are you always watching Football? Golf? What’s the point? There’s no story in sports!”
After realizing I had utterly failed as a father, we sat down to talk and I forced her to watch Sunday night football with me.
Now, much to her credit, unless you happen to catch an event where Bob Costas has produced one of his let’s-see-if-I-can-make-you-cry spots, you may or may not get glimpses of the hidden stories within the game. Of course, Hollywood has figured out how to take a few to the big screen. We’ve seen great sport films such as Blind Side, Hoosiers, Rudy, and Chariots of Fire (to name a few) capitalize on the magic of the “one-shining-moments” that convert even the haters.
But aside from Hoop Dreams, there have been few (great) sports documentaries to make it to the theaters (or even DVD).
Enter ESPN’s 30 for 30project.
While each of the 30 for 30 are worthy of viewing, the storytelling found in The Two Escobars is some of the best I’ve seen. Directors (and brothers) Jeff and Michael Zimbalist not only tell the story of the murder of soccer great Andres Escobar after his own-goal in the 1994 World Cup, but its connection to Pablo Escobar, the renown Colombian drug lord. (And interestingly enough, the connection is not what you might think.)
In fact, there is so much “story” here, that the sport tends to take a back seat. It’s humanized. It’s complex. It’s connected.