I have to start with an admission; I’m a sucker for underdog movies. Eddie the Eagle is an inspirational film. It, however, is not a film where you say…”I didn’t see that coming!”. It plays out the way you think it will, or how you know it will if you remember the 88 Winter Olympics.
For anyone that has always dreamed higher than anyone suggested, this is a great film. For anyone who didn’t fit in, but stayed true to self, this is a great film. For anyone that has had family and/or friends that just didn’t believe in their vision, this is a great film. If you simply like watching the little guy win… well, this is a good film but you won’t get your wish. Eddie the Eagle follows Eddie Edwards from a small child to his Olympic call out in the beginning. He had a goal, though most everyone tried to convince him it was inconceivable. He had his eyes and determination on his goal.
In his Hebrew letter Paul talks about us participating in a race. He tells us to look at our end goal, “looking unto Jesus” as we participate. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [b]author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Heb. 12:1,2
This movie is about an awkward, quirky, unassuming and naïve Brit that took on the challenge of becoming an Olympic athlete from an early age. If you are older, like me, and you remember watching the original interviews with The Eagle, you’ll be very pleased with the performance of Taron Egerton. This young man does a fabulous job! The disappointment, and I’m truly a big fan, was in Hugh Jackman’s performance as Bronson Peary. I found it ironic that the second biggest role in a biopic film was 100% fabricated. I did enjoy a lot of his character; however, there were times that I felt like Hugh Jackman was in the film and not a character Bronson Peary. He wasn’t bad; I just didn’t feel like he sold the character the way Taron did.
I’m not a big sports person, but the winter Olympus was something I always watched growing up. Actually, they were the only Olympics I ever cared to truly watch. With wrestling being my passion I would wait in anticipation for the matches. The downhill skiing always memorized me. The ski jump was fascinating and you couldn’t help but cringe when an unfortunate soul would wipe out. Then, who can forget the amazing race and finish of the first Jamaican Bob-Sled team, which happened to happen in 88 as well? (Cool Runnings was a favorite movie of my oldest two when they were young.)
Sports are a tough thing for me. I have always been a self-competitive person, but never a team competitive person. As a teacher is see sports and their impact in other ways. I see sports-parents that live and breathe a sport with practices and competitions on local and travel leagues six days a week. Some parents are harder on their child than a coach ever could be and never seem proud of accomplishments reached. Some parents, like me, simply want them to do their best and never quit; good athlete or not, it’s always about doing your best in my opinion. A constant theme was that winning wasn’t the point, it was about participating.
As Christians we have to participate, too. There isn’t a number one Christian outside of Jesus. We aren’t trying to get first place in ranking. We are simply striving to finish. Paul references this also in his first letter to Corinth. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” -1 Cor. 9:24,25
According to the movie, (please know that Eddie Edwards was interviewed and told the reporter that he was informed only about 10% of the movie would be true to his life, so we aren’t sure) Eddie has a supportive mother and a father that was tired of his son’s foolish Olympic dream. All too often we see young men striving to make their father’s proud; sometimes to no avail.
Eddie discovers his young niche in skiing and we see trophies, news clippings, and medals starting to add up as he works to becoming a local champion. As a champion, he attends the Olympic hopeful’s tryouts for Britain where he’s simply told that he does not match what sponsors are looking for in an athlete.
I don’t know how many of our readers know what it’s like to feel left out. I know I certainly did not fit in as a kid. The heart of Eddie portrayed in this film though was one of genuine kindness and determination where he refused to let others tear him down. A few times he gets low, but he turns a corner and picks himself back up.
The blessing as a Christian is knowing that we are as God made us. He never looks at the external person. Not color, creed, race, hair color, etc. It was a hard lesson to learn for Peter. However, Peter was able to step back and open his heart and realize what God had intended all along. “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,'” -Acts 10:34
This is not a movie about the worst beating the best. It’s just the opposite. It’s about the underdog that didn’t care about winning; he simply wanted to participate. With his hard work and determination, in 1988 he was listed as a participant.
Our goal should be to work hard and show dedication so that in our spiritual race, we find ourselves at the end, not standing in front of a crowd that we were able to win over, but a God that we were able to follow.