Week 1: Dylan Branch

The movie “Soul Surfer” is a heart wrenching yet inspiring film about the true story of a professional surfer who lost an arm due to a shark attack. Bethany Hamilton became a household name after her inspiring journey back to health and back on a surfboard. Going into this movie I knew it would be both difficult to watch at times but also inspiring, having already known the outcome of her success. But after reviewing and almost deconstructing the piece, it changed my views towards not only her story but the way I view things within my own life today.

After watching this film and the success that Bethany Hamilton had gotten by all her hard work, it affected me much more than I thought it would. Throughout the movie the audience had a chance to learn about the hardships she went through and also got to witness the effort and hard work she put in just to get back on a surfboard. Not only is it inspiring to watch but it also made me realize that with a lot of hard work, I can have success just like she did. Being an athlete I know first hand about how achieving and mastering a skill is not given to you. Pure talent can only take you so far and hard work must get you the rest of the way. But what really hit me about this film is that I realized that I don’t have any place for excuses. In my opinion, a lot of athletes today from any sport can give excuse after excuse of why they aren’t better or working harder. It changed the way I look at my work ethic within my sport. If Bethany Hamilton can survive a near fatal accident and suffer the loss of one of her limbs, then I can suck it up and push past my hardships as well. If she doesn’t allow herself to make excuses about her injury, then why would I ever allow myself to fall short of my potential and give excuses. From my personal standpoint, after being in a sport for so many years, sometimes it is hard to find the motivation to continue to practice to get better. But this movie actually triggered something inside me to keep going and stop complaining about having to put in the handwork to become better.

It also made me realize how selfish I sounded considering the health I am in. I am healthy and able to play a sport that I love so it  also opened my eyes to the fact that there are people all over the world who wish they could be healthy enough to play a sport. Who wish they were never injured to the point where they cannot return to playing the game they love. Who wish they could have one day of a normal life to have the opportunity to play and experience the joy that I get every day after walking on the that court. The movie was a big reality check for me because it made me appreciate the opportunities I have been given.

After watching the film, I believe my work ethic has changed drastically. I have never been more motivated to become a better athlete. If Bethany can come back to her sport, better than ever, then what is there stopping me? I really hope this film inspired and opened the eyes of other viewers as much as it did for me. Before watching this film, I had never really thought too much about all of these things running through my head now. Not only is this film inspiring and motivating but it takes those things to another level by really showing myself and hopefully other viewers that it is important to be grateful with what we have been given, especially as athletes and that in the end, hard work will always pay off.