'The Streak' chronicles ordinary athletes pursuing the extraordinary
It's every bit as improbable as the Miracle on Ice, without the dramatic play-by-play call. It exudes greatness along the lines of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, but there's no oversized commemorative coffee table book. It's numbers-driven like Joe DiMaggio's 56 straight games with a hit, but this streak always has been about the process, not the result."It is an achievement as extraordinary as anything ever seen in American sports," filmmaker Jon Hock says. Hyperbole, you say? As extraordinary as anything ever seen in American sports? Well, you can dismiss this as just another sports story drowning in predictable exaggeration. I almost did. But then you open your eyes, look past the tall talk, and find what first connected you to sports long ago.
"He is John Wooden in the body of a high school wrestling coach," Hock says of Brandon wrestling coach Russ Cozart. "We discovered an extraordinary man who lives and teaches and experiences a depth of strength and power in such a nondescript context."Since 1980, Cozart has been the caretaker of a program that entered the season having won 451 straight matches dating to 1974. You give him your boy and he'll give you back a man. He isn't a drill sergeant or tyrant. He doesn't sit on those false thrones high school dynasties can build.
The longest winning streak in the history of American high school sports is the focus of the new ESPN Films documentary "The Streak" (Tuesday, 9 p.m., ESPN2). Produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos in association with Jon Hock and Hock Films, the two-hour film chronicles the 2007-08 season of the Brandon High School (just outside Tampa, Fla.) wrestling program.
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