As I recently noted in my recent, I was glad to finally take the plunge into the Nine for IX series of docs. Aside from the online shorts I have been a very loyal devotee of the series owing both to my love of sports and my need to see more documentaries.
As this new slate shows there are a few titles where it’s about time the topic got covered like No Mas and Tonya and Nancy and some that should be eye-opening like the film on Eddie Aiku.
However, the world of sports filled with intriguing stories both off-the-field and on. Here are a few that came to mind as worthy subjects:
1. Danny Almonte
There are a few reasons I bring this topic up, none of them have to do with Almonte’s semi-pro career though. I think Little Big Men adequately covered the fact that Little League success doesn’t necessarily translate to the next level where fields match professional dimensions. However, this scandal did have a significant impact, not only on that tournament, but I feel it impacted a few to come. Furthermore, it changed, based on my knowledge, how Little League has handled some of these incidents since then. Most notably the Ugandan team’s visa issues a few years back. The media spin forces you to read between the lines to spot eligibility concerns, and when those facts came out they were consciously buried.
2. The 1994 MLB Strike
Well before all the NHL’s labor woes baseball took a huge backslide due to this strike. Its impact was a decline in popularity (only revitalized by a now-tainted era), a franchise’s eventual relocation and more. The fact that a stand-alone World Series was considered would only be one intriguing aspect of the story.
3. Colombia 86ed
If you look at the Wikipedia article on the 1986 World Cup, eventually hosted by Mexico, it glosses over the issues that lead Colombia to resign its bid four years prior to the actual tournament. It would also be enlightening to learn about the replacement process that led to Mexico being awarded its second tournament in 16 years. A very short span when you consider that other soccer powers (Brazil and England to name just two) have had to wait in excess of 50 years for a second chance. With a rise in the popularity of soccer this story would have an audience and it could be one that is layered.
Maybe this is just a pipe dream that I’m better off submitting to Ken Burns, but, perhaps the single most fascinating scoreline I ever saw was this Georgia Tech dismantling of Cumberland in 1916. I first learned of it in the Guinness Book of World Records when I was young. I’m also glad to know I’m not alone in being fascinated by it as there has been a book written on the subject which could be the starting point.
5. 1996 Olympic Park Bombing
There are actually a few American off-the-field Olympic tales that could be told. I also considered the tale of the Salt Lake City bid scandal. However, this now-often-overlooked act seems like it’d be more relevant fodder for a documentary treatment.