The Express is the movie they showed on our flight to Costa Rica. It shows the story African-American football star Ernie Davis’ experience at Syracuse U. and beyond. It’s the kind of picture that seems to get produced by the dozen every year — people love that template, where a sport is the backdrop for a journey of racial enlightenment. You see the BS African Americans had to face in the 50s and 60s while they’re in a football uniforms.
I usually can’t stand these kinds of movies. It’s excruciating and painful to witness the racism people had to face. I still remember my Old English professor telling me when he grew up in Alabama, he saw cops sick dogs on black citizens and how that experience made sure he would never return. (Incidentally, I was failing Old English, which is why I got the opportunity to hear this guy’s random stories during our tutoring session, all of which helped me squeak by with a B….which a B is not squeaking by, I know.)
But you know what else is excruciating about The Express? The workouts the football team had to do. Sprints, push-ups, mountain climbers — and then after all that, they have to take turns shoving that couch-like object you see on football feels. Shudder.