Special agent film shows American sport red in tooth, claw a

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Special agent film shows American sport red in tooth, claw a

Postby shayeyp6shx » 16 Nov 2011, 19:07

I was dozing in front of Jerry Maguire on Channel 5 one night last week, thinking how very unrealistic it was. I mean, if in real life Tom Cruise were to keep doing that thing where he points in the air with both index fingers while saying something supposedly off the wall, someone would surely find a handy weapon to beat him around the face with – I favour a sock filled with horse manure. And are we really supposed to believe the hilariously long-suffering Renée Zellweger, wearing that winsome smile that served her through at least five movies, would have a sister around the place still talking to her?The sports agent stuff, though, turns out to be pretty accurate – if The Dotted Line, an excellent documentary on ESPN, repeated this Wednesday on ESPN America, is anything to go by.It is the work of Morgan Spurlock, who also cropped up last week on Pick TV, one of those channels that seems to insinuate its way on to your Sky remote while you are asleep. He was presenting a programme called 50 Documentaries To See Before You Die, which I will give a go, although as I am still working my way through The Guardian's 1,000 films to see before you die, I fear it may be a race to the death (quite literally) between the documentaries and the Grim Reaper.Spurlock – best known for the jolly polemic Super Size Me, in which he ate nothing but food from McDonald's for a month, in order to test the effects on his health (spoiler alert: not good) – must be a glutton for punishment because The Dotted Line, following the sports agent Eugene Lee as he hustles his way across the US on the trail of the best college football players to recruit, is basically a road trip around strip-mall America, where fast food has a fairly firm foothold.This may have been what Lee meant when he said the hardest prix ray ban clubmaster part of his job was "travel requirements", as he wearily hit the road for yet another college football game, fuelled by the latest in a never-ending series of sugar‑free Red Bulls.Lee was the hero of a programme that, unusually, was sympathetic towards the sports agent. The worst you could accuse Lee of was verbal confusion, a blurring of the line between active and passive. When he told a player "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you", he worked ridiculously hard. You felt if it was a damn good prospering these boys were after, they could do a lot worse.From Manassas, Virginia to the University of Notre Dame in Chicago, via the NFL combine in Indianapolis – a week-long hothouse where college players are tested, probed and generally treated like prize bulls at an agricultural show – Lee never stopped. As well as schmoozing his potential signings, their mothers and their high-school coaches, he took "every opportunity to press the flesh with coaches, scouts, everybody" on behalf of his players, distributing postcards and setting up websites for them.It seemed a punishing and often thankless routine. The agents can spend 30,000 (£18,600) on specialised training to prepare their boys for the NFL, but the player still has the Puma pas cher right to go elsewhere once he makes it. The agent has to do an awful lot of that Jerry Maguire business to keep his boys on board.In one rather sly cut, we see Lee being very Jerry – Spurlock cannot resist a cheap shot – as he sincerely tells one prospect, Jacquian Williams, that he will be the agency's "highest priority", while pitching the very same line to another player hundreds of miles away. In the end, though, Lee was more sinned against than sinning.The programme culminates in the NFL draft, another week-long cattle market in which the NFL teams pick college players for their squads. For the agent, it is a seven-day phoning, texting and emailing marathon. With a mobile virtually welded to his ear, Lee cajoles and comforts his charges when they miss out, while trying to get under the skin of coaches and scouts and convince them of the merit of his boys.Finally, Lee's hard work and frankly shameless pimping pays off and he gets Williams a berth at the New York Giants. Cue wild celebrations. Six weeks later, out of the blue, Lee gets a termination letter. "Someone out there got into Jacquian's ear and gave him some horrible advice. I cannot fathom doing something like that to someone," says Lee.If there is a better metaphor for the way America works than the draft I have yet to find it. I know I risk hollow laughter if I talk about slavery in connection with highly paid sportsmen, but to a casual observer like me the draft did look like a lot of white guys selling black guys – albeit, it should be said, with the aim of some pretty heavy-duty prospering on both sides.
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