Monday, March 30, 2015

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Vol 2: Rand University

I watched Rand University. This is the twenty-fifth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 volume II. An episode guide for Vol II is here. This is the last of the 30 for 30s that were released last fall.

The documentary follows Randy Moss’s progress from High School star to NFL draft pick. It focuses on the off the field troubles that plagued Moss’ high school and college years. The film touches on a number of issues, including poverty, race, education, maturity, drugs, growing up in a single parent home, and becoming a father at a young age. Interwoven into the story is a look at the lives of his high school teammates.

After overcoming troubles with the law and losing the opportunities to play at Notre Dame and Florida State, Moss revived his football career at Marshall University. The footage of Moss playing for Marshall is spectacular.

All that was good and troubling about Randy Moss materialized on the day of the 1998 NFL Draft. Twenty picks were made before the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the first round.

The title refers to the small West Virginia town where Moss grew up. Rand University spends a lot of the film focused on the way that the town of Rand, and its racial and economic tensions, affected Moss’ generation of high school athletes.

I really need to watch this 30 for 30 a second time. As I mentioned after reading Grisham's Gray Mountain, this is a part of the world that I have not had a chance to travel through. It is difficult for me to really wrap my brain around the poverty and racial strife portrayed in the film.

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