Snoop Dogg is known for doing a lot of things; he is a platinum selling recording artist, he is an actor and he is an avid weed smoker. One thing you might not know about him is that he is the founder and a couch within a youth football league in California. All of this is documented in Snoop’s new Netflix show called “Coach Snoop.”
In 2005, Snoop Dogg and a group of partners founded the Snoop Youth Football League (SYPL) in downtown Los Angeles. The goal was pretty simple: keep kids off the streets and give them instructions for what to do when things get difficult in the real world. The idea for the league stemmed from Snoop’s upbringing in Long Beach, CA. As Snoop explains in the introduction of the first episode, he grew up surrounded by gang violence. He watched friends and family members get killed and he wanted to use some of his influence to keep that from happening to others. Starting a football league was the best way to do that. The league consists of teams across California in multiple age ranges going from six to 13 years old. After that students can go on to play in high school and college. Within the league, Snoop acts a coach for one team, the Pamona Stealers in the eldest age category.
Each episode has the same basic structure. It begins with a flashback and voice-over from Snoop talking about something in his past that motivated him to start this league, be it gang violence or drug abuse or even arrest. The episode will then follow the team through practices and games with a focus put on one specific kid. For example, in episode one we meet Max, a bullied offensive lineman. Max’s father left when Max was a kid, and his mother feels that while his is playing football Snoop and the other coaches can act as a father figure. Snoop and the other coaches want to use football to toughen Max up because they believe bullies don’t pick on the tough kids.
This show is not by any standards, a fun descent into youth football. It’s a tale of hard work, dedication and the hell that these kids are facing if they don’t get off the streets. And it’s not all fun and games either. In one episode, a player has issues with his own anger and with his father. In another, Kmac, one of the team’s assistant coach and a former rapper, gets into an argument with airline stewardess which lead to the team getting kicked off of their flight.
Coach Snoop is also different Snoop Dogg. The football coach only cares about the players and brings none of his other accessories like smoking weed and drinking. Snoop doesn’t want his team and his game to turn into a photo-op and does everything he can to keep his professional life away from the SYPL. That does cause some problems which become evident during the team’s first game that we see. In order to prove some kind of point, the opposing team recruits a bunch high schoolers to play against the Stealers and after a valiant fight, the Stealers are crushed.
But like all good coaches, Snoop sees a message there. Life isn’t fair but you have to power throughout it with your team. And it’s that message that makes the show so good. Life is not fair. There are always going to be challenges and it will hard to go at it alone. But if you work as a team then anyone, be you black, brown, white or orange can work their way through. Some of them might even make it to the pros, but that’s not the goal. It’s not about the money, it’s about just playing the game with your team and making it through.
The first season of “Coach Snoop” is currently steaming on Netflix and consists of eight episodes. It is definitely worth checking out.