Ask a handful of people associated with the game of football what their favorite sports movie all-time is, and you’re bound to hear a few answers of Remember the Titans. Not only does the movie serve as a dramatic tale of overcoming adversity, whether it be racially inclined, cultural or physical, but it’s one of those movies that immediately connotates life for you.
For example, take James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”, which immediately visualizes the scene when Gerry Bertier’s 1971 Camaro is t-boned in downtown Alexandria. Cinematically, it’s one of the most powerful moments of the last fifteen years, or at least for sports fans.
But it’s a moment that’s not supposed to be real. Sure, Bertier’s story was real and just re-told in the movie, but it’s those kind of scenes that no one wants to believe or see happen. Yet, it’s also moments like those that bring us together.
Friday night, former UCLA offensive lineman Nick Ekbatani was seriously injured in Redondo Beach, California when a taxi cab collided with his motorcycle. He was pronounced 90 percent dead at the hospital, with doctors having to make the grim decision to amputate his left leg.
Ekbatani wasn’t an All-American at UCLA, nor was he a team captain. He wasn’t highly recruited out of South Torrance High School, and didn’t win major awards. He started in 14 games at UCLA and his biggest claim to fame was winning the best offensive player award in a 2008 victory over Tennessse, but by all accounts, it’s his heart and smile that makes him a champion.
Employed by ESPN to do work on the recruiting trail, Ekbatani is the guy everyone loves, including Jon Gold of the LA Daily News. So it’s not a suprise that many are rallying behind him.
So many, in fact, that a public fund online had raised more than $30,000 in its first 24 hours.
Ekbatani has progressed in the days since the accident, now being able to speak to those around him, acknowledging the situation and maintaining the belief that everything happens for a reason.
For a guy with as much support as he’s receiving at the moment, it’s only fitting to compare him to Gerry Bertier. And not just in the literal sense, with auto accidents involving football players. Instead, because of the parallels in their spirits before and after their life-changing events, both bounded and ignited by the immense support that both received.
If you’d like to contribute to Ekbatani’s health fund, please click here.