Sports is Best Reality TV Drama, True Stories of Courage and Devotion

josh millarSenior Analyst IJune 19, 2008

With the news of Tiger Woods torn ACL and fractured fibula, I got to thinking about how dramatic his victory was.

You can’t script that no matter how hard you try and that’s what’s great about sports.  It always supplies new content a fresh story and more great moments.


Woods now finds himself on a short list of athletes who gain victory while battling injury illness or loss. It’s impossible to rank them, and I’m not going to do that. 


Doing so would diminish the respective feats, instead here a few great dramatic performances, and I will leave the debate to the readers.


Mario Lemieux- One of hockey’s greatest players who played the majority of his career played 915 out of a potential 1428 regular season games.


His numerous ailments included spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic tendonitis of a hip-flexor muscle, and chronic back pain so severe that he had other people tie his skates.


On January 12, 1993, he made the shocking announcement that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Lemieux missed two months of action but finished with 160 points (69 goals, 91 assists) in 60 games, the most points of any player for that season.

Bobby Baun – In the 1964 Stanley Cup Final, Baun, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, took a slapshot off the leg from Gordie Howe. Baun would be carried off on a stretcher.


The game would go to overtime and to the surprise of everyone Baun returned (his leg frozen by painkillers and scored the game’s winning goal. In an interview after the game, Baun was asked about the severity of his injury.


“Probably just a sprain,” said Baun. The next day’s x-ray revealed the leg to be broken.


Brett Favre- Arguably sports toughest athlete Favre holds the record for consecutive starts by a quarterback with 275 (including postseason) Favre played with broken thumbs and bruised ribs. 


You name it, he had it, and he played through it. However, Favre’s greatest feat occurred on December 22, 2003, in a Monday Night Football game against the Oakland Raiders.


The day before, on Sunday, December 21, 2003, Brett's father, Irvin Favre, ran into a ditch near Kiln, Mississippi.  Irvin Favre died of a sudden heart attack.

He passed for four touchdowns in the first half and 399 total yards in a 41-7 victory over the Raiders.


Afterwards, Favre said, "I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play. I love him so much, and I love this game. It's meant a great deal to me, to my dad, to my family, and I didn't expect this kind of performance. But I know he was watching tonight.”


Indeed these are just a few of sports greatest triumphs.  There are so many more, but this proves sports IS reality television and true drama.