Friday, January 2, 2009

Breaking the Huddle

While we're all gorging on college football, there's an excellent HBO Sports documentary no fan ought to miss.

"Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football", tells the story of what it took to make the college game something all of us enjoy today. HBO does an excellent job of helping the viewer understand the intersection of the Civil Rights Movement with the sport.

I started watching football around 1969-70, after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl. It was a very long time, however, before I watched college football. Mainly because there just weren't a lot of players with whom I could identify (even then, it wasn't like there the pro game was overflowing with black players, but there were more). Good reason - the college game wasn't really integrated until the '70's!

It's quite revealing that it took a loss by the storied (and all white) Alabama Crimson Tide and the legendary Paul 'Bear' Bryant, to the University of Southern California (with a black quarterback, no less), to give Bryant the cover he needed to start recruiting African-American players! And particularly moving is the story of Jerry Levias (Southern Methodist University), the first black player in the old Southwest Conference.

Even if you don't particularly like football, you'll enjoy this!

So watch the promo and check the broadcast of this documentary in your area.

In the meantime: "Go 'bama! Roll Tide!" And will someone please come up with a play-off system to determine the national champion? Soon? Please?!

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