Passion, devotion, religion. In my experience, sports have the ability to bring forth your authentic self. When I hear about someone who’s making $500 wrestling, and literally getting a cheese grater to their head during a match, the first thing I think is, “You’re crazy.” But next I think, as a former athlete, I understand. Dedication to sports is something that drives athletes in a way that is comprehension (and sometimes sanity). It’s the reason why I decided to collaborate with my pal Tom Brady and the incredible filmmaker Gotham Chopra on Religion of Sports, a docuseries that explores how sports can deeply influence societies around the world, why they matter, and how they give fans an experience bordering on the religious.
Over the course of three seasons, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the question, “What are you willing to give and give up to be the best that you can be?” We’ve looked at the pinnacle of physical endurance with ultra-running across distances ranging from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle. We’ve watched rival L.A. gangs the Bloods and the Crips duke it out on the basketball court in a family friendly 48-hour cease-fire. We’ve followed two football teams along the Texas/Mexico border, the challenges they each face, and the influence football has had on all of them, despite their differences. We’ve taken an inside look at one of the most dangerous motorcycle races in the world, the Isle of Man TT, to reflect on what draws competitors to this race despite the many deaths that have occurred as a result. We’ve told the fascinating story of FC Lampedusa, a soccer team made up primarily of international refugees now living in Hamburg, Germany’s St. Pauli district.
We’ve seen firsthand the influence of sports around the world and how it transcends the culture, morphing into a religion all its own. You can get a preview of the Religion of Sports episodes and more here, or watch the full episodes on the Audience Network, DIRECTV, and AT&T U-verse.