ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: Student / Athlete (2015)

Directed by Ken Jeong

I’m not sure whether it’s perfect, or just a bit too on the nose that this new short from ESPN is directed by Ken Jeong. For those unaware, Ken Jeong is a licensed physician in the state of California. He also happens to be a famous comedian, known for his outlandish antics in both The Hangover and the television series Community. This fact is crucial in understanding his perspective on fellow doctor, Reggie Ho, who also just so happens to have been the walk-on place kicker at Notre Dame in 1988 that helped them beat Michigan, and ultimately win a national title.

Ho, a native of Hawaii attended Notre Dame, a fine academic institution, to study pre-med in the hopes of one day becoming a doctor and helping people. While a freshman on campus, he decided that he wanted to be a well-rounded student at the university, and not one to just study in the library for his whole career. So as an extracurricular, he decided that playing for perhaps the top football program in the nation at the time would be a good interest to take up. Oh, I suppose I should mention that he was 5’5” and weighed only 135 pounds.

His ambition is admirable, and I guess the fact he wanted to play football was pretty cool too. Ho embodies the student/athlete that we rarely see any more in such major collegiate athletics as football and basketball. But with his film, Jeong reminds us that these students exist, the kind that play a sport for the love of it, who don’t get a scholarship for playing a game, those that are there for an education, and to make a difference in the world beyond the playing field. Hearing Dr. Reginald Ho speak, and seeing him interact with colleagues and patients at his hospital is a true joy. He is a perfect role model for past, present and future students on what it takes to work hard and achieve your dream.

*** – Good

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