Netflix Original Show “Last Chance U,” A Real Game Changer
By Mimi Myers
The new Netflix documentary series, Last Chance U is a must-watch. The series demonstrates the need for hard work and those who care about you. Last Chance U is a show for football fans and non-football fans alike. The progress of the team makes you feel different emotions, and keeps you on the edge of your seat at the end of heartbreaking episodes, and for all of the 53 minutes in between. It shows the journey of young, struggling athletes growing as people and players. A sense of family washes over the players and the viewers. Forming a bond between the team, something more significant and greater than themselves is created. Last Chance U is a series based on East Mississippi Community College’s football season in 2015. As of now, the six episodes of Last Chance U highlight the importance of teamwork and perseverance in a heartfelt, intriguing way.
Scooba, Mississippi is the hometown of EMCC. The population may only be 732, but almost all of the residents support the team and come to the games. Throughout the episodes, featured interviews of those who live in Scooba and players who have graduated from EMCC are included. The series incorporates the town’s love for the game whilst providing insight into the players’ minds. With a variety of sources and creative words, the interviews give perspective on the events on the football team. DJ Law, running back, shares his hardships from his hometown, and what keeps him playing in attempt to succeed. He has to explain the sorrow that comes from being away from his child. Defensive lineman, Ronald Ollie, also talks about the pain that comes from the memory of his lost parents. The majority of players have similar issues. The team works through these problems together, on and off the field. They are required to live together, so by spending time with each other or just dancing to have fun, the hardships aren’t so hard. As a team, they have to encourage each other. Throughout the season, they grow together. Although their dislike of head coach, Buddy Stephens, is strong, they hard work to win, all leading up to their goal of the title of national champions. Coach Stephens shouts rude things at his players, using “tough love.” But it is not tough love, the words are harmful and I don’t like when he’s shouting at them. However, it seems that this pays off during the season despite their loss early in the season. As individuals, the players have to protect themselves because they’re trying to make it big. Quarterbacks Wyatt Roberts and John Franklin Ⅲ compete every time they step out on the field, whether it’s practice or a game. In the beginning, the returning player gets the advantage, but in the end, the best man will be successful. Other teammates make it big too, and graduate to Division 1 football schools.
Managing relationships with people and ideas comes with difficulty to the people at EMCC. It may be hard to find trustworthy people who support you, but it’s even harder to try to stand some people. In life, you are forced to work with the people you hate anyway. Differences between Ollie and Coach Stephens occur, stirring up the team. Coach Stephens drives Ollie to a breaking point. Coach Stephens doesn’t support Ollie, and a coach should always support his players. He makes the wrong move with a loud mouth, at that. But, there are times when the people come together. Within the season, a brawl breaks out between EMCC and an opposing team. During this fight, the team had each others’ backs and helped their teammates who had become brothers. Brittany Wagner, an academic advisor, proved herself as another key factor in their success. Wagner mothered the players, through simple gestures such as; calling them to go to class, making sure they’ve completed their schoolwork, going to all of their games, and following up with them in times of their trouble. A player experiences difficulty with his superiors, and Wagner drives to his apartment to ensure his safety. Wagner’s ability to motivate them is crucial to their future. These kids don’t believe they can do well in school, which is a shame because they have so much potential. Some simply hate school to the extent of not trying to do well. Ollie and Law experience differences with school, because they hate it too much and don’t believe in themselves.
Last Chance U gives the love of the game to anyone who embarks on the team’s journey alongside them. It makes a person feel all kinds of ways; frustrated, disappointed, sad, mad, but most of all, happy. The ups and downs the people at EMCC experience give perspective on life. The fact that these kids built themselves back up from failures provides a positive message to do all you can.
Photo from Netflix.