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‘Eddie the Eagle’ inspires us to soar

“Eddie the Eagle” (2016). Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben, Tim McInnerny, Mark Benton, Edvin Endre, Rune Temte, Tom Costello Jr., Jack Costello. Director: Dexter Fletcher. Screenplay: Sean Macauley and Simon Kelton. Story: Simon Kelton. Web site. Trailer.

What are the chances that a geeky, somewhat-uncoordinated wannabe athlete is able to overcome his challenges and become an Olympic competitor? Most would probably say not very likely. But, as in any audacious undertaking, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Just ask the infectiously enthusiastic British ski jumper whose inspiring life story is the subject of the new, uplifting, fact-based feel-good movie, “Eddie the Eagle.”

Ever since Eddie Edwards was a child (Tom Costello Jr.), he desperately wanted to be an Olympic athlete, despite health challenges and the nonstop criticism of naysayers, including his own father (Keith Allen). But Eddie was not deterred by these obstacles; he was determined to see his dream realized, especially when his health improved as a teen (Jack Costello). He tried his hand at many sports, though not with much success, prompting even more ridicule from virtually everyone except his mother (Jo Hartley). He seemed reconciled to spend his life working as a plasterer like his dad – that is, until he discovered winter sports.

Eddie took up downhill skiing and fared well, just missing out at a spot on the British Olympic team. But Eddie was not willing to be left out of the Olympic experience. He decided to try a different path – by taking up the sport of ski jumping. And so, while in his early 20s, he began training for competition in a sport that most participants started learning while in childhood.

In 1987, Eddie traveled to Garmisch, West Germany, home of one of the world’s foremost ski jumping facilities, to begin his self-directed training. While there, he met some of the sport’s biggest contenders, like “the Flying Finn,” Matti Nykänen (Edvin Endre), winner of two Olympic medals at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games and several individual and team world championships. He also encountered a new round of critics, like the coach of the powerful Norwegian team (Rune Temte) and his squad of smug, self-assured competitors. But he also met some new supporters, like Petra (Iris Berben), a bar owner who gave the cash-starved competitor a place to stay, and Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a hard-drinking slope groomer and former American ski jumper who was booted from the U.S. team by his coach (Christopher Walken) for a lack of discipline.

Eddie’s hope was to qualify for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada by becoming the sole member of the British ski jumping team, a sport in which his country hadn’t fielded a contender in nearly 60 years. Unfortunately, the British Olympic Committee was reluctant to support Eddie’s bid for fear that the neophyte competitor would embarrass the team and his country, an opinion openly expressed by BOC President Dustin Target (Tim McInnerny).

Again, however, Eddie refused to be held back. Given the sport’s lax qualifying rules in place at the time, Eddie found a way to participate that wouldn’t allow the Olympic Committee to ignore his bid. That, combined with the valuable assistance afforded by Bronson’s impromptu coaching, allowed Eddie to qualify as Britain’s official ski jumping representative at the Calgary Winter Games. Before long, he was off to Canada to meet his destiny.

Even though Eddie’s Olympic performance was far below that of his fellow competitors (he finished dead last in both the 70- and 90-meter ski jumping competitions), Eddie the Eagle (as he came to be known) captured the hearts of spectators around the globe for his zealous enthusiasm. Sports commentators like those from the BBC (Jim Broadbent) sang his praises, despite his comparatively unimpressive results. The nerdy, bespectacled Brit thus became an overnight global celebrity for embodying the spirit of competition, a symbol for what it means to never give up.

Considering the odds that Eddie was up against, it might be tempting to think that his seemingly wrong-headed efforts were truly Quixotic. However, no matter the challenges, he continued to persevere, mainly because he believed he could succeed. Indeed, as anyone who practices conscious creation – the means by which we manifest the existence we experience through our thoughts and intents – beliefs are exceedingly powerful manifestation tools. And, based on his results, Eddie was a master at it.

In the case of an underdog like Eddie, he held onto beliefs that were off the scale compared to what many of us might be tempted to believe. But Eddie’s intents for what he was attempting to materialize were firmly supported by associated beliefs related to abilities for overcoming limitations and envisioning grand outcomes. His faith in those accompanying notions provided a substantial foundation for his manifestation skills, making the realization of his pie-in-the-sky objectives not only plausible but likely.

Eddie’s experience thus sets an excellent example for the rest of us, especially when we aspire to exceed the limits of our (and others’) perceived capabilities. Holding fast to such beliefs makes it much easier for us to reach our goals. What’s more, this practice enables us to silence the critics, which, in turn, further quashes any doubts that may be tempted to creep into our consciousness and undermine our efforts.

Taking such an approach also helps us to vanquish any fears we might have, perhaps one of the most virulent mechanisms for sabotaging ourselves. These restraining beliefs hold us back, keeping us from discovering what we’re capable of before we even make the attempt. That’s unfortunate, too, for it often leads to regrets, perhaps even resentments, toward ourselves or others. But by being willing to live courageously, we stand ourselves in good stead for seeing exactly what’s possible, especially results that may be beyond what we ever could have envisioned for ourselves.

This happens for Eddie, for example, when he tries the 90-meter ski jump for the first time. Having previously made attempts only on the 15-, 40- and 70-meter courses, tackling the big hill represented a huge step for the inexperienced competitor. But what made Eddie’s initial attempt at this height even more impressive was the fact that he did so at the Olympics, participating in a contest in which he hadn’t originally considered competing. Rising up to meet our destiny in such a way usually proves rewarding beyond measure.

Holding firm to our beliefs not only makes it possible to realize our dreams, but it also makes the process easier by opening doors when needed most. The appearance of fortuitous synchronicities frequently provides us with the tangible tools we need to foster the materialization of our hoped-for objectives.

For instance, when Eddie arrives in Garmisch, he’s in need of lodging and training assistance, both of which “just happen” to make their presence felt, as if on cue. Some might look upon such developments as mere coincidence, but, as conscious creators well know, synchronicities like this routinely materialize – quite naturally – as part of the manifestation process. This is the handiwork of our divine collaborator joining forces with us to see our intangible aspirations come to life, offering us valuable assistance in the realization of our most cherished desires. And, as a general rule, the greater our faith in our beliefs, the greater the number of synchronicities that emerge to make our dreams come true.

Synchronicities sometimes have a tendency to work both ways, too. When Eddie first meets Bronson, for example, he comes upon someone who can supply him with the much-needed coaching he requires. But Eddie’s appearance also provides something Bronson needs – a chance at redemption for achieving a measure of greatness in a sport from which he was banished years before.

As conscious creators well know, we’re all in a constant state of becoming. For those who may have “failed” at some previous manifestation attempt, this is an important consideration to bear in mind, for, even if one effort at achieving something didn’t work, this does not mean later ones won’t. We all have a chance to redeem ourselves for past “failures,” provided we believe in the possibility. And, if we do, the synchronicities that may have been absent before frequently show up subsequently, especially if the beliefs supporting a new materialization attempt are firmly grounded and free of undercutting influences like fear and doubt. For someone like Bronson, Eddie might not seem like what he needs to make up for his past disappointments. But, when the potential for Bronson’s redemption becomes apparent, Eddie proves to be just what his mentor needs.

Ultimately, though, Eddie’s efforts benefited others besides just Bronson. His love of competition for its own sake inspired countless fans worldwide, demonstrating the innate value in making an effort at achieving something, no matter what the outcome. Eddie’s personal heroism was even singled out at the Calgary Games’ closing ceremonies by Frank King, president of the event’s organizing committee. But, then, as conscious creators well know, making an impact in a way that benefits oneself and others is one of the aims of the philosophy, a practice known as value fulfillment. In his own way, Eddie lived out this concept, setting a shining example for an enthused world of onlookers.

“Eddie the Eagle” is purely formula feel-good movie material, but it’s extremely well-executed formula feel-good movie material. In many ways, the film echoes the spirit and sentiments of another picture about the Calgary Games, “Cool Runnings” (1993), the story of the Jamaican bobsled team, another of the many unlikely heroes to come out of the 1988 Winter Olympics. In this offering, Egerton delivers a terrific, faithful performance as the protagonist, effectively portraying someone seeking to succeed despite the odds. Even though a number of the picture’s story elements are, regrettably, fictionalized (such as Bronson’s character, a supposed composite of several of Eddie’s real-life coaches), the film provides big fun, great cinematography and a wonderfully nostalgic look at the ʼ80s. For those in need of a potent shot of adrenaline and encouragement, this one shouldn’t be missed.

When life seems stacked against us, it’s easy to roll over and walk away. It takes real courage to face the challenges before us and move forward, especially when seemingly everyone and everything is going against us. But Eddie Edwards refused to let that happen to him, and his story shows us how, making it possible for us, like the Eagle himself, to soar.

Copyright © 2016, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

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