Last Chance U is a show that highlights an aspect of athletics that is not always discussed: Junior College (JUCO) Athletics. Most people have never stopped to think about JUCO sports; I was one of them. To my surprise, these were some of the most compelling athletic tales I had ever heard or seen.
Every athlete has a story, but we don’t often get to witness the most trying parts. In Last Chance U, we follow these young men on their paths to make better lives for themselves. These paths are typically rocky, as some of them come from the most difficult circumstances. These athletes deal with issues ranging from poverty and hunger to disciplinary actions. Everything they do is fought for.
This is what makes the show so interesting. These men are working hard so that they can be picked for Division One (D1) teams. The D1 teams have immense funding for their athletic programs and have the potential to launch athletes to the professional leagues. With all of this in mind, these young men feel overwhelming pressure at all times. While some of the athletes know how to deal with the pressure, others don’t. Everybody has some baggage and mental hurdles they are fighting to overcome and their decisions, at any point, could be the difference between the life they want and the life they have.
In my opinion, the best part of the show is the coaches. These guys are extremely passionate about their players’ success. Sometimes even more so than the players. Any athlete can tell you the influence a great coach can have over the lives of youth. To see some of these coaches sacrifice aspects of their own lives to improve the lives of their players magnifies the importance of the games.
When you watch the show, it is obvious that every athlete who steps on the court is fighting for something bigger. It is more than just a game; it is a ticket to a better life, a chance to help their families, a brotherhood. These boys have grit like you have never seen. Some teammates are lovable and others make you want to scream, but at the end of the day, you root for them all.