LMC is perfect for ‘Last Chance U’

Jesus Cano, @Juice_Cano

Los Medanos College football is the ideal program to be featured on the Netflix series “Last Chance U.”

If you are unaware of the series, Netflix documents the life of a community college football program. So far, Netflix highlighted two community colleges, Eastern Mississippi and Independence College in Kansas. It’s a series I felt so much excitement to watch because it gave the spotlight these athletes deserve on a national level. But as a realist and someone that’s covered community college football, it didn’t tell what really goes into this level of the sport. The series is great, but it does not reflect the real JuCo struggle. The students who are barely surviving to get by, some that are barely getting by in life.

The only thing those teams have in comparison is the fact they are looking for their last chance to play D1 football.

But other than that, this series paints an inaccurate picture of what JuCo football, or athletics, really is.

In the series, Independence has an Adidas sponsorship where many of the players receive cleats, hats, shirts, and so on all for free. They essentially all get the NFL treatment when it comes to gear. For many schools, it’s just the opposite.

LMC football has no sort of brand sponsorships. During spring ball practices, these athletes are wearing old game jerseys as practice jerseys. Along the rest of the equipment, players have to find a way to pay for cleats, gloves and other equipment out of their own pockets.

Other things LMC athletes don’t receive are athletic scholarships or free housing like the show presents on Netflix. Many of the football players at LMC often have to work full-time jobs to feed themselves, and sometimes their own families. They do all of this while being full-time students and athletes.

While some of the athletes on “Last Chance U” are former Division I recruits out of high school that even played some NCAA games like Malik Henry and Carlos Thompson. LMC has a lot of underdog athletes that never were on the radar even of any schools. Some factors that lure in is being overshadowed by other players, or simply going to a school that did not have a strong presence in the recruiting game. Despite LMC being in the backyard of the Bay Valley Athletic League, potentially the best high school football league in all of Northern California, LMC still gets out recruited by other schools as far as City College of San Francisco and Laney College.

While LMC may not send athletes to prestigious football schools like Alabama and Oregon, the Stangs coaching staff has done an excellent job getting a lot of these kids to the next level.

These JuCo football players don’t have the fan support system they once had in high school. Feeder schools like Liberty, Pittsburg and Clayton Valley have explosive home crowds with electric environments. It’s not the same here at LMC. Opening night draws people in, but after that, it’ll be a miracle for LMC to crack 250 people in the stands. “Last Chance U” shows these enormous JuCo stadiums with heavy crowds, jumbotrons and much more. If someone were to go to an LMC football game, they would be very mistaken. Not to mention, there doesn’t appear to be a strong community presence at LMC just like there is at the other colleges.

If Netflix really wants “Last Chance U” to show what the real JuCo struggles, they should bring their crew to LMC.