The long hot summer continues, but thankfully Netflix released the second season of Last Chance U. to make the staying inside a bit more interesting. Unfortunately, this season isn’t quite as good as the first one. The story at East Mississippi Community College is still pretty much the same. Head Coach Buddy Stephens continues to yell and scream like a five year old who didn’t get his milk and cookies. Some of the players have returned and others are new. Their stories are the same, part tragic, part frustrating and part inspiring. And they still need their academic, and that is a very generous use of the word given the simplicity of their studies, adviser Brittany Wagner to help them find their way. It may be due to the fact that the team didn’t make the national championship game or that Buddy had practically become cartoon character, but the EMCC story is pretty much played out. That’s probably why the show is moving to Independence Community College in Kansas for the third season.
I heard that Amazon had a similar show, but all I found was Mississippi JUCO. It isn’t a series, but a documentary. I abandoned that title after a very long five minutes and switched to The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain. I really didn’t remember him, but his story was compelling. He was a can’t miss kid from Arkansas, who did just that, miss his big chance. He certainly played a part in his failure, but the college football machine contributed just as much. The documentary is worthy of your off season time.
My search on Amazon Prime provided one other title that caught my eye. Reload Explode is a documentary of a minor league arena football team from Erie, Pa – my home town. It’s actually the real last chance for the players who failed at the Last Chance U., if they even made it that far. These guys aren’t going to the pros, they are just reliving their glory days. I am not passing judgement on them wanting to extend their football playing days a little longer. It’s not like you can play in a full contact beer league or pick up 11 on 11 game down at the Y. Full contact football is a young man’s sport, whether you want to play longer or not.
There’s a fair bit of overacting in the segments, with the participants trying to make the documentary seem like Hard Knocks. It doesn’t take much to see past that thin veneer. Instead of focusing on the coaches and game preparations, a much more interesting piece would have been an in-depth examination of the players’ lifestyles and the challenges the owners face in keeping the team afloat.