This past Tuesday, ESPN Films aired another outstanding hour-long documentary, this one about former Fresno State basketball player Chris Herren. Herren became a prep star in his native Fall River, Massachusetts and went on to Fresno and a short stint in the NBA, all the while battling drug addiction and nearly self-destructing the world around him.
I have to admit that I was skeptical when the “30 For 30” project was launched in 2009 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ESPN, but this series had hit a home run for viewers from die-hard loyalists to casual sports fans.
There are several pieces that has become my favorites: “The Two Escobars”, “Silly Little Games”, “The U”, “Winning Time”, and “Pony Express” are the ones I can name off the top of my head.
Thursday night, a lightbulb went off in my head (clichéd, I know). An idea that sounds like typical sports radio fodder, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to have fun with it.
“If ESPN Films was to make an hour-long documentary of an Iowa sports story, what story would that be?”
The list of so many topics and stories could fill up a two weeks worth of “Murph and Andy”.
There are the easy ones we know very well: Iowa/ISU rivalry, Aplington-Parkersburg Football, prep wrestling, prep football powerhouses, winning streaks, outstanding athletes from Dan Gable to Fred Jackson.
How about a couple that may have been forgotten or missed?
My friends on Twitter has offered their choices:
Mark Hanrahan (@markhanrahan20): the end of the ISU baseball program. They beat the #1 team, twice. Can’t script that any better.
Ryan Wendt (@rwendt40): Ogden High having 2 4-time state wrestling champs (Jason Keenan and Jesse Sundell) under the same coach.
Tyler Coan (@tylercoan): Reggie Roby, the Moses family (Jerry, J.J., and Milan), Waterloo East’s 56-game football unbeaten streak (’66-’72) and Waterloo West’s 86-match unbeaten wrestling streak (’68-’75) during the time of racial tension in Waterloo during the tumultuous ’60s.
Here are a few others:
- Dowling Catholic’s 136 match winning wrestling streak (’86-’92)
- Drake Relays
- The Ruan Des Moines Grand Prix
- Harold Nichols and ISU wrestling
- Curt Bladt and Harlan High football
- Lewis Lloyd and the Drake Bulldogs
- Wartburg College wrestling’s current 150-match unbeaten conference streak and 19 straight Iowa Conference titles
- The late Ron Schipper and the Central Dutch football program.
So many stories and some are bound to be left off, which I hate, because each story is unique in its own way. We can’t go wrong with any story because each of them are worthy to be profiled by ESPN Films.