'Soul Surfer' an inspiration to girls, young and old
A few weeks ago, I was asked to introduce the Denver premiere of the movie Soul Surfer.
I was honored to introduce the film and to interview the lead actress, the director and the young woman who inspired the movie. But I had no idea I would be moved in so many ways by this film.
Soul Surfer the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm to a tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii.
Sout SurferThe film has big names like Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid and, for the first time acting, Carrie Underwood.
I remember anchoring the news when the attack happened in 2003. The story was big around the world.
I thought I knew what to expect from the film, but I was caught off guard with emotion and a new meaningful connection with my 10-year-old daughter.
I try to take my kids to my work events, especially when I think they will learn or grow from the experience. Being a working parent, it's a way for me to spend time with them. But I also hope it is a way for them to see inside my world.
I want to expose my kids to new people, new environments and current news stories.
Living most of her young life in Colorado, I can't say that my 10-year-old related to surfing, but she certainly understands the love of a sport.
Addy is my young athlete.
The passion Bethany Hamilton has for surfing is something many kids will understand and love. The tragedy of the shark bite was emotional and heart-wrenching, but not over the top in the movie.
My daughter Addy was intent and drawn in the entire time.
In the movie, Bethany has a motivation and desire to continue her sport; it was incredibly uplifting. From the moment she arrived home from the hospital, she was determined to be successful despite missing an arm.
As my daughter watched the movie, I could tell she was putting herself in Bethany's place, wondering how she would have gone on playing sports. Would she have continued basketball, baseball or her favorite, football? No one thought Bethany could do it, but she did and she is a professional surfer to this day, at the age of 21.
What got Bethany through such a trying, emotional and physical struggle? She will tell you it was her strong faith and a desire to continue what she loves. She thought about stopping. She tried for a while, but in the end, she listened to her heart and her she was smart about how she would make surfing work given her new challenge.
I asked Addy what she liked about the movie, here is what she said: "It was amazing. It made me feel confident ... like girls can do anything they want to if they try hard enough."
With so many movies we have to worry about our kids seeing these days, this is one we should be proud of. I applaud the director, Sean McNamara, for taking it on.
The actress who played Bethany, Denver resident and young Hollywood star, AnnaSophia Robb, was the perfect choice and was gracious and happy leading Bethany into the spotlight at the premiere. I have interviewed AnnaSophia a number of times over the years and she continues to make Denver proud.
As for Bethany, she did stunts for Anna Sophia in the movie (surfing with one arm). She is beautiful, real, inspiring and just plain amazing.
I left the movie feeling like I can't complain about any small issues in my busy life after seeing what Bethany went through and how she confidently goes on with one less limb.
Walking out of the theater with my arm around Addy, I felt like we experienced a story that empowered us both, me as a Mom who wants the best for my kids but feels the pain of their struggles and Addy with a new found belief in pursing what you love no matter what curve ball or tiger shark life throws your way.
Soul Surfer Interview