“Last chance U,” directed by Greg Whitely and Adam Ridley is a documentary confronting everything around football, indicating how much it can change someones life. The documentary follows a season of football with the East Mississippi community college football team who has been dominating the national league they are in for the past 4 years. The title of the series means that its all these football players last chance to make it big time or as they say “make it to the league,” as meany of them have not been selected yet or are trying to get into a division one college for example the likes of auburn. As a viewer during season 1 episode 1 we are confronted with harsh realities these talented footballers have faced and will need to face to make it to these tier 1 colleges.
As a sportsmen personally watching this documentary gave me a harsh reality and wake up call of what some coaches could be like and how mentally challenging it must be to overcome the cussing and appalling behaviour. During the first game of the season the team is playing to it full potential and is constantly making mistakes were the head coach proceeds to say “get your asses of the field,” in a very aggressive tone. Once he has left the offensive coach proceeds saying encouragingly “listen to me, these we are doing is nothing new, same stuff, just play, just play, Im excited.” During this time and place you can get see how much more involved the players are and co-operative with the offensive coach than the head coach. Throughout the world today there has been more and more insight into what makes a good leader, going of a common saying “you have gain respect before respect is earned.” In my life and I’m sure in everyones our role models are the ones that positively influence us, giving us a different insight on life, highlighting we only have one chance. Our role models impact us causing all of our aspects in life mentally, socially and physically to evolve for the better. I often imagine a world were we don’t have influencers around us, which is a scary thought of not knowing what is right and wrong. Negative influencers like this head coach called Buddy Stephens I believe rub of on you especially when they are involved in something you are apart of. I have experienced only a few of these types of people in my life and I have discovered if you can realise this you are shown not how to act as you personally see the toll it has on other people. I have came across influencers or role models who at the time I didn’t even know were changing my life for example my coach from when I was 5-10 years old. A few years back I considered giving up rugby just like many of these East Missiisspii athletes when times were not going their way. I realised I wasn’t going to be great and had been having hard games, making my mind not enjoy the game.
The reserve quarterback who has a lot of talent during the game gets his chance to go on and make a play. There is this common connection throughout the documentary is that when the athletes put their mind to it they excel. “Its over with,” telling the camera, he carries out an amazing play coming back to the camera saying “I told you they gonna feel me.” Having this confidence in your self is what this community college thrives of, where coaches are constantly beating into their heads if you have the mindset you will be able to do anything. Throughout my life I have commonly heard this phrase spread around. I found in many situations is that I say I will do it, but when it comes to it I go into a shell. Especially in sport its hard to continue having this determination at an expected level. I have constantly been told that I have the talent, I just need to have this courage, I could almost relate my situation to “The Blind side,” which is a movie based on a real life story of Michael Oher who also did not have confidence in himself. A strong player who has a lot going for themselves isn’t getting many offers for new colleges. It’s a common dream or a stereotypical dream in life that a lot of boys would like to play sport professionally, I know personally I was guilty of this. “I’m getting no offers, so imma just be a regular student and go and get me a normal job Ms,” shows the final realisation at the age of 20 that even the highest talents can’t make it this far. It is a proven statistic that you have a very very slim chance of making it pro for example making it to the national football league in America you have a 0.09% chance of making it only if your are in your high schools top team. It’s a very saddening statistic and as Britteny Wagner (the academic athlete advisor) stated “towards the end of semester the boys begin to actually start trying as they finally realise it is actually their last chance.” It was said at the end of the season 2 students out of 55 got offers from division 1 schools, I could only imagine the heartbreak these kids must feel knowing that their best shot of making out of their current situation is gone. Many of these 20 year old boys have nothing else but football, and only get to realise once they have the opportunity of making it big is so close, has gone now having to face reality. A lot of African Americans are constantly bought up in situations and constantly told their only way of making money is to “Sell dope, rap and go the NBA,” which is a famous line from J.Coles “immortal” song lyrics. Hence it is a scary thought to know what they will do after their football career is over. This facing of reality in a boy or girls life comes at different ages in my life at a young age, others in their teenage years. Facing reality I believe is a confronting thought and would give people such a fright they would want to give up and not put in effort.
Every main kid in this team that was constantly being interviewed had a very rough upbringing, something which personally I did not experience. DJ Law casually says talking about his dad “they took him away from me for a lil bit, I had to learn a lot of stuff on my own, become a man on my own.” Children being bought up with a single parent is so common throughout the world today, and it is very hard for the parents to raise them in good conditions financially, with good nutrition and extra curricular activities. Football or any sport I believe gets kids out of these non ideal situations. Sport is not only do this but it brings a special bond between players and gives many adults and kids something to hold onto and cherish not only for the love of the sport but between teammates building life long friendships. It allows especially these athletes bought up in not ideal conditions to get a feeling of trust knowing you have each others back allowing them to mature and even if they don’t make it to the NFL will still have matured and gained attributes to bring into the real world.
I would highly recommend “Last Chance U,” if you were a sport enthusiast who wants to get an insight on what it takes and how much time and effort it takes to make it to the big leagues. Not only that but it goes through a series of emotions and events giving an insight on a daily life of a high performing athlete, who even go through heart break as there grades aren’t there or they simply enough hadn’t played enough games due to injury to get a noticeable highlight reel to make it further in their football careers. From sportsman to sportsman I can highly relate to aspects of the documentary when times are tough and you don’t want to put in the extra work due to fatigue and motivation.