Friday, July 15, 2016

Making Dreams Happen - even if there're obstacles

          I LOVE the movie "Cool Runnings" - a movie that depicts marathon runner, Derice Bannock, going for his Olympic Dreams.  And when the obstacle of running into other track members knocks his dreams off course, he looks for an alternate way to take him to the Olympics.

          He discovers an "has been" Olympic athlete who had received a metal for a bobsledding competition.  There's no snow in Jamaica, but Derice (with the help of the ex-Olympic star) forms a team of members who are willing to learn bobsledding so that they may enter the winter Olympics.

          The show, of course, is probably only 5% accurate, if that.  The real "Derice" had very little training before the Olympics.  He said he saw a bobsled for the first time in September 1987 here and here

          It doesn't make me appreciate the movie any less.  I love the depiction of going for your dreams - even if you have to altar it because of whatever obstacles may fall into your path (in Cool Runnings, the obstacle was being disqualified for the summer Olympics due to the falling of the runners)

          One of my very favorite quotes comes from Cool Runnings when Derice learns that the medal had been taken away from the character (played by John Candy) who coached them.

          Derice (as well as all of us) is told: "... a gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough with one."
          Last week Roland and I watched the movie "Eddie, the Eagle" also only about 5% accuracy - at least according to Michael "Eddie" Edwards which you can read about here and here

          Eddie's goal was to be an Olympian - not necessarily to win - but to be.  The movie depicts him as being clumsy and one who is unable to make the cut at so many sports.  There are several obstacles which he tackles all throughout the movie (as well as in real life).  When he runs out of money, and can't seem to keep up with the high cost of the sport, he finds a job that includes housing and helps him keep up with the expenses of ski jumping - something he feels qualified for as England had never had a representative in ski jumping before.

          Like Darice of "Cool Runnings", Eddie asks to be coached by an Olympic has been (which did not occur in real life) and finds himself competing in the Olympics that exact same year as the first Jamaican Bobsled team.  That year (1988) the Winter Olympics were held in Calgary.

          I loved the determination of the character of Eddie Edwards, and even the real life Michal Edwards.  There were obstacles that he had to overcome, but his persistence paid off.  Oh no, he did not walk away with a medal in any place.  His jump was not that great comparatively - it didn't matter.  He was the first ski jumper to set any kind of record for England and it seemed to be that was all that mattered.

          Suppose the obstacles would divert you in a whole new direction.  I thought of Jill Kinmont and Diane Ellison.

          Jill was a promising young skier who had looked forward to participating in the 1956 Olympics.  She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated on January 31, 1955.  That same week she had a skiing accident in Alta, Utah. (see here) She did not make it to the Olympics at all. 

          The movie portrayals of Jill Kinmont in “The Other Side of the Mountain” and  “The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2” are probably more accurate to her life than the two examples above.  She couldn't even walk anymore, let alone ski. Her dreams changed. 

          Jill lived 52 years longer than she was told that she would.  She graduated from college.  She struggled to find school that would allow her to teach.  She made an impact on those that she taught and I'm sure made a difference in the lives of each that knew her.

          Diane's dream was to go to the Olympics as  a gymnast.  She had to come up with a way to pay the expenses of gymnast lessons herself (see here) She was taller than the other girls who were in the class.  She was referred to as "Big Bird".  She excelled and went on to perform in several competitions.  

          In 1981 Diane was asked to join U.S. Professional Gymnastics Classic.  During a workout  she had decided to make a move without her spotter.  see here

          I hadn't known Diane until after the accident.  She always seemed to have a positive attitude.  I did not know her well, but I did enjoy spending time with her when the situation allowed.  I remember being a passenger in her car once.  It was different to see her operating the van with just her hands (as there has been no movement in her legs)

          Like Jill Kinmont, Diane also graduated from college and found a teaching position at a school district in Salt Lake (actually the same school district that Jenna was schooled in until we moved to Oregon) She has given over 400 volunteer firesides, has been a motivational speaker,  She says that ironically, one of the biggest aids to her recovery was gymnastics. (see here)

         I also love her biography Don't You Dare Give Up by Renon Klossner Hulet .  I think it's a great resource for not giving up - despite the obstacles.
I would like to end this post with one of my daughter's favorite songs:



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