Random Thoughts

The ESPY’s: A Show Not About Sports

Before my religious viewing of Fox’s Sunday night programming, I flipped the channel to watch the ESPY awards. In days of yore, it would be a no-brainer whether or not to watch the show. I watched Kobe effortlessly climb up the Laker ladder of history, and I watched Vince Young single-handedly run his team to victory. Reliving those moments is simply a Youtube search away. However, being a college kid, I left home and had something of a long distance relationship with the boob tube (too much homework). As a result, I made a vehement effort to catch the sports highlights I missed this year while not sacrificing an extravagant amount of Simpsons, Family Guy, and (dare I say it) American Dad content. The show began with a humorous opening monologue by Lance Armstrong. I expected the night to retain its upbeat, intense, and energetic atmosphere that is characteristic of most sporting events. Little did I know that I would be on the edge of my seat constantly reaching for the nearest Kleenex box.

The bulk of the programming centered around poignant, touching, and at times, tear jerking moments of individuals finding meaning in their lives through sports. The first installment was the John Ehret basketball team that was constructed from high school boys from numerous New Orleans school districts. The story was essentially a microcosm of the New Orleans community putting aside their differences to help everyone find the road to recovery from the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Though a great movie preview and the answer to Glory Road and Coach Carter (move over Jason McElwain), what stood out was that this team was not about their love of basketball but the social response of people coming together in times of need. I thought the ESPY’s was a sports awards show.

After Katrina’s destruction made me go through my first batch of Kleenex, I had to open a new box after Ashley Judd introduced her fifteen minute video segment. Inspiring and touching, the segment described numerous Afghan women being repeatedly murdered and brutally abused by the Taliban regime. They were punished for wanting to be recognized as people. Fraught with corpses and personal accounts of violent whippings, the video made one wonder why ESPN was showing this. Finally, in the last three minutes, the brief documentary mentioned the women using soccer to rebel against the oppressive rule and culture.

I think it is great that people are being exposed to such a dire situation, but seriously, give the video to news syndicates. Call Dateline, call 20/20, give Dan Rather his job back. The Afghan women’s soccer team has implications beyond sports. They do not want some silly sports award; they want change. These women reached out to the wrong audience.

The remainder of the night had a few segments, but most of it was devoted to actually handing out the awards. The awards were limited in scope with the exception of Jason McElwain’s 20 point performance that won him “Best Moment” To a jubilant crowd and standing ovation, Jay Mac gave a speech that was surprisingly the most thoughtful and articulate of the night. Everyone who attended or simply just watched the show knew that anything is possible after watching his acceptance speech.

ESPN should conduct a separate show for these touching sports moments. They could be special segments on Sportscenter. Let the awards show be an awards show.

The ESPY’s, a sports awards show? Hardly.

5 replies on “The ESPY’s: A Show Not About Sports”

ESPY’s I’m very disappointed that I was forced to miss that show. And then I missed the replay of it this morning too! I knew it would be a great one. So many heart-wrenching stories, and I was really looking forward to seeing J-Mac accept that award.

Looking for Copy of ESPY Awards Show I am looking for a copy of the 2006 ESPY awards show. Does Youtube carry entire shows or only clips?

doubt you’ll find it on youtube ESPN regularly patrols that site and takes stuff off because it violates their copyright.

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