“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.” That is the oath of the Special Olympics athletes and it came from a speech delivered by Eunice Kennedy Shriver while she fought to give those athletes a platform on which to compete. ESPN’s 30 for 30 Short “Brave in the Attempt” tells Shriver’s story and how she took a camp in her backyard and turned it into the event as we know it today.
Those familiar with ESPN’s 30 for 30 series knows that these documentaries are almost always incredibly well done and retell some of the greatest stories in the history of sports. The shorts are no exception and “Brave in the Attempt” certainly follows that rule.
In fact, every now and then these documentaries cover a story that, while still rooted in the topic, is actually so much bigger than sports and this one fits that category as well. Shriver tooka group of people, those with intellectual disabilities, who were all but completely written off at the time and gave them a way to compete and be adored by fans. In effect, the movement she started, and grew over many years, eventually changed the way the world looked at these people.
“Brave in the Attempts” is incredibly moving, telling a story with so much power and emotion behind it and doing so in a way that brings forth that emotion from everyone involved and in turn, the viewer. Many documentaries surrounding sports use a sort of dramatized storytelling that sometimes feels forced. While this doc is certainly dramatic, in never comes across as disingenuous because all of that emotion is very real.
The short documentary features interviews with several people who were close to Eunice, including Special Olympics athlete-turned-ambassador Loretta Claiborne and even her own children – Timothy and Maria Shriver. These interviews provide a glimpse into Eunice’s life and add that emotion and power that make this documentary so great. Add the strong and familiar voice of narrator Jon Hamm, and you’re sure to be hanging on every word.
“Brave in the Attempt” tells a great story, one that many would not think of when thinking of their favorite stories in the world of sports. But that is simply because it is one that is so much bigger than sport, and ESPN’s 30 for 30 Short treats it as such.
You can watch “Brave in the Attempt” now on ESPN+. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”