Bleats

The Top Sports Docos To Binge, Now That 'The Last Dance' Is Done

That winning feeling doesn't have to end.

If you haven’t devoured all 10 episodes of The Last Dance doco series already, well, shame on you quite frankly. Even though we knew the ending way back in 1998, the ESPN-Netflix series had us all on the edge of our seats. But now you may find yourself with a big ol’ sports hole to fill – what to watch next.

WARNING – there be some Last Dance spoilers in this:

Abstract: Tinker Hatfield

Technically, this is more of a design story than a sports doco, but it’s a great companion piece to The Last Dance because it’s all about the guy who designed the famous Air Jordans. Tinker Hatfield goes into great detail about designing for professional athletes, from Andre Agassi to Michael Jordan. And yes, MJ is in this too.

The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

A major thread in The Last Dance was the legwork – and ultimately back-stabbing – in building a team from scratch. And that’s not just limited to the NBA. The Battered Bastards Of Baseball chronicles the Portland Mavericks, a team set-up by actor Bing Russell (yes, Kurt Russell’s dad) in the 1970s, and made-up entirely of players no one else wanted.

Undefeated

Nothing beats an underdog story, and Undefeated is so good it won Best Documentary at the 2012 Oscars. It follows some seriously disadvantaged students from Memphis and their never-say-die volunteer coach, who refuses to let them slip through the cracks. Also good to partner with Cheer to pick your spirits up.

The Test

This 8-part series goes behind the scenes of rebuilding the Australian cricket team in the wake of the “Sandpaper Scandal”. New coach Justin Langer is on a mission to regain the team’s integrity, and retain the Ashes in the process.

Free Solo

Another Academy Award-winner that will leave you in awe (and probably a little sick from the stress). It covers Alex Honnold and his lifelong dream to climb the 900-metre vertical rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – without any ropes. It’s a testament to the mental and physical strength that it takes to be the best.

The Fibros And The Silvertails

One of the great insights in The Last Dance doco was the sports psychology. From coach Phil Jackson’s ability to get the most out of each individual, to every little bit of spite that Michael Jordan used to rev himself up. And if you want more of that, then look no further than Fibros vs Silvertails. It goes back to the 1978 legendary rugby league rivalry between the Western Suburbs Magpies and the Manly Sea Eagles, and how Wests coach Roy Masters created a class war, not only to motivate his own team, but to motivate an entire region of fans. And that class war is still going on today.

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‘Kissed On The Dick By A Fairy’ – The ABC’s Most Honest TV Show

‘You Can’t Ask That’ will crack you up and break your heart all at once.

How good is smashing taboos? That’s exactly the point of You Can’t Ask That, the ABC’s most raw and honest TV show.

It’s back with a new season of curly questions, kicking off with firefighters. Best have some tissues handy because a lot of these heroes (even though they don’t call themselves that) are dealing with the trauma of the Black Summer fires that devastated much of Australia.

While the bushfires may seem like a lifetime ago because of Coronavirus, the gutted communities are still trying to rebuild, and there’s a lot we can learn from just 30 minutes of YCAT.

The Diversity Of Firefighters

They range in age, size, gender, heritage – basically, anyone of them could be your best friend, your mum, dad, cheeky uncle at family get-togethers. What unites them is their dedication to community, and we all benefit from that.

They Get Excited About The Big Red Trucks Too

“As soon as you have the red and blue lights on the top you’re like a little kid again. You’re like, haha you’re stuck in traffic, here I go past,” RFS Volunteer Jackson Brown confesses.

CFA Volunteer Michelle Kampen opens up on ‘You Can’t Ask That’.

They Get Stuck Into Climate Change And ScoMo

Yeah, so they’re just as annoyed at the political football, and Scott Morrison’s forced handshakes, as the rest of us are. These people – largely volunteers – are literally on the frontlines, so maybe we should listen to them, hey? “Politicians are people who plan for the next election. Statesmen are the people who plan for the next generation. Where are all our statesmen?” Well said, CFA Volunteer Mark Guerin.

Firefighters Get Scared Too

Their descriptions of facing a wall of fire will send shivers down your spine.

“The fire from December, she’s a nasty bitch,” CFA Volunteer Michelle Kampen says.

They Can Hear The Animals Screaming

And that’s what breaks their hearts. Let’s just leave that at that. Need more tissues.

Firefighters Harriet Foard and Mark Carter on ‘You Can’t Ask That’.

They Know They’re Facing Death

Every day. That’s their job. Just let that sink in. But man they are calm about it, even when describing the most horrific situations, albeit while choking back tears.

“I thought I’d been kissed on the dick by a fairy. Yeah, I did have a moment. I snuck around the corner, let a bit of it out. Cause it was bloody close” – your new Aussie hero, RSF Volunteer Darryl Chadwick.

There’s A Reason They Tell You To Get Out

Those warnings to leave early are no joke. The fire sucks the oxygen out of the air, and that not only stops you from breathing, but also stops cars from working, and that is not the way you want to go. “Fire can do whatever it wants,” warns Advanced Firefighter Rachael Cavanagh. The least we can do in return is support our firefighters by showing them some respect.

Season 5 of You Can’t Ask That starts March 18 at 9pm on ABC and iview with Firefighters, and continues with Nudist, Gold Medallists, Kids, living on the Autism Spectrum, HIV, Public Housing, and those who have Killed Someone.

If Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ Doesn’t Make You Ugly Cry, Good Luck Finding Your Lost Soul

Spoilers ahead, but also plenty of spirit.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. And quite possibly a stomach ache from the nerve-racking nature of this show.

Do not go into Netflix’s Cheer expecting pompoms and pageant girls. You will be put in your place real quick. Block out a good six hours, have some tissues handy for the flood of tears, grab a bottle of wine for that final episode, and say hello to a new appreciation for cheerleading.

Queen Monica

She is the true hero of this story. She’s built the cheer program at Navarro College in Texas into a formidable force, not just for winning titles and trophies, but also for turning kids’ lives around. Monica sets a high standard, but she will fight for her kids, and any one of them would take a bullet for her. Can the US just make her president already? Seriously. This woman has got her shit together.

Gabi’s Parents

At the other end of the spectrum we have Gabi Butler’s parents. Gabi is set up to be the star of the show, but while she struggles with the pressure of living up to expectations on the cheer mat, she has even bigger problems at home with her pushy, cash-grabbing parents. She can’t even have a meal without them hounding her to do more on social media to make them more money. Run, Gabi, just run.

Sweet, Wise Morgan

Morgan may look like your stereotypical poster cheer girl – even Monica admits her looks helped her get into the squad – but there is so much more to her than meets the eye. While her Instagram posts look idyllic, Morgan’s heartbreaking backstory proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Morgan is hardworking, and kind, and wise beyond her years. And I’ll admit she’s made me look at social media in a whole new light.

Absolute Angel Jerry

Could there be a sweeter soul in this world? Jerry has enough genuine spirit to keep us all going. Even when he gets bumped from the mat squad he doesn’t take it out on anyone, or give up on himself. He cheers like an absolute champ, always. His mum gave up everything so he could pursue his dream, and when Jerry opens that university acceptance letter at the end, I was a mess.

Lexi, The End

When the “where are they now?” scene came for Lexi, I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. She fought so hard to try and move on from her troubled past. So. Damn. Hard. And then to find out she got booted from Navarro for hanging with the wrong crowd and refusing to snitch, I was done. BUT WAIT! There is a happy ending after all.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe toIt’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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