HBO's 'Real Sports' Goes Three for Four in New Hour
This month's strongest piece is a follow-up from correspondent Mary Carillo of a story she first did five years ago on a Massachusetts man, Dick Hoyt, who has become a triathlete as an older man. The hook to the story is that Hoyt races while carrying his disabled son, Rick, who has been unable to speak or to walk since birth, when a coiled umbilical cord cut off oxygen to his brain. Carillo, who won a Sports Emmy five years ago, deftly tells the Hoyts' story without permitting it to wander into mawkishness.
Frank Deford contributes a solid examination into the practice of hazing among marching bands at historically black colleges and universities, with graphic descriptions and even more harrowing pictures of violence toward victims. And anchor Bryant Gumbel travels to Austria for a quirky look at the ancient sport of falconry, zeroing in on a female falconer from Oklahoma.
The one clunker is a pillowy soft profile of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma from Deford. The piece offers little depth into what has made Auriemma, who has won seven national championships, so successful. Tellingly, the piece sets the irascible Auriemma up as the bad boy of his sport, but does not present any of his critics, most notably Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, with whom Auriemma has feuded with in recent years, to provide balance.