This is non-MIchigan related, so I apologize in advance.
The next installment of ESPN's 30 For 30 airs on Sunday at 9 p.m. There has been some discussion of the series here, so I thought people might be interested. I got to see an advance screening of the next episode last night and thought it was terrific.
The title is "Survive and Advance" and the focus is on Jim Valvano and the 1983 NC State team that won the national championship after one miracle after another. This was a team that lost its leader to a broken foot for several weeks during the middle of the season. At one point, they were 9-7. They went 8-3 down the stretch but had to win the conference tournament to get into the NCAA tournament.
They were trailing in every single game in the ACC tournament and had to rally to win at the last second each time. After getting into the tournament, they had to come from behind and win at the buzzer in three of their first four games. And then they had to do it again in the NCAA finals.
The odds were so spectacularly against them....it really was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The only other prolonged run I can think of against such long odds (in a sports setting) was the 2004 Red Sox coming from an 0-3 defecit and beating the Yankees in four straight (with two come-from-behind wins and then Schilling's effort in Game Six).
The 30-on-30 focuses on Derrick Whittenburg (he of the broken foot). The opening scene is him getting dressed for the funeral of his teammate, Lorenzo Charles. For you young whippersnappers, Whittenburg fired the last second shot in the championship game. It was woefully short and Lorenzo Charles grabbed it and dunked it for the winning points.
Whittenburg told his teammates after the funeral that he wanted them to all get together once a year. The only time they seemed to be seeing each other was at a funeral and he didn't want that to continue.
The documentary weaves Jim Valvano's fight with cancer into the story. They don't pull any punches either.
I got to watch the screening in Reynolds Coliseum, NC State's homecourt from the 40s until 2000. There were lots of red eyes and people wiping away tears after the screening. (You'll laugh, you'll cry...).
Anyone finds sports to be compelling will enjoy this one. Sunday night...9 p.m. in the east.