Sidelines with Silverstein: The Danbury Trashers

If you haven’t seen the new Netflix documentary “Untold: Crime and Penalties,” which documents the absolutely absurd true story of the Danbury Trashers, you simply must watch — whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or just want something to remind you of humanity’s craziness.

Picture this: You’re seventeen years old, about to graduate high school and your dad gets you a gift— you know, like the role of being president of a new minor league hockey team for your town. So what do you do? You proceed to sign some of the most intimidating, bone-bruising goons to ever hit the ice — and also Wayne Gretzky’s significantly less well-known brother for good measure. What follows from this is chaos on ice, an FBI investigation and a whole lot of publicity. It’s a story so unbelievable to the point that it simply could not have been made up.

I do not want to go into more detail and spoil this saga. That would be a crime. However, I will say this: as someone who was familiar with the main details of the story of the Danbury Trashers before watching the documentary, I am certainly impressed with how the documentary tells this story. It creates a certain chronology to the madness and adds more and more to it, layer by layer. It includes authentic and emotional interviews with the story’s main players, James and A.J. Galante. Ultimately, the documentary is emblematic of the kinds of things sports can do to us as humans. They can unite us for a common cause, engage our most crude and animalistic impulses and tear us down as much as they can build us up. “Untold: Crime and Penalties,” is a fascinating window into the utter craziness of sports, and I urge anybody who has not yet seen it to enjoy the ride.