If you’re not a sports fan, you’ve probably missed ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, a series of 30 sports documentaries celebrating the 30th anniversary of ESPN’s existence. Missing these films, though, is a mistake, sports fan or not. They are uniformly insightful and profoundly moving. Sports is often just the framework for stories about real people struggling with their real lives. Editions to date have included subjects like a Canadian town mourning the loss of Wayne Gretzky to California, the racially charged trial of a high-school-aged Allen Iverson, and most recently, a film about Ricky Williams, a football player who, apparently, retired from football to be free to smoke marijuana.

Of course, Williams is revealed to be multifaceted, and in fact, is a fascinating and tragic figure. Here’s a teaser quote, from last night’s Run Ricky Run:
Early on in his identity formation, it became tightly linked to achievement, to what he was supposed to be, instead of the kind of more rooted identity formation that comes from…sweet acceptance. And Ricky longed for that.
POW! The law killed Ricky Williams’ football career, and now we might say, since Ricky is back in the game, largely due to a wife who provided that “sweet acceptance,” that the Gospel resurrected it.
A complete list of the “30 for 30” films can be found HERE.