What is an unexpected hero? Someone who we did not expect to be brave, or strong or daring? I remember growing up and hearing the question 'who is your hero' a lot. I never knew what to say to that because I actually didn't have a hero. I wasn't into pop culture and we didn't watch sports. My parents immigrated from Europe and we rarely even spoke English at home. As I got older, the question would come up again, in interviews or applications. Honestly, I never knew what to say.
Not knowing the answer to everything in life is okay, even if you don't know exactly who your 'hero' is. Looking back on my childhood, if I had to answer that question again, I would say my heroes were my parents, who came to Canada without knowing any English and had only $200 in their pockets. They started from scratch and worked really hard to get to where they are now. They didn't own cellphones that would translate a new language for them or navigate them by GPS to find the nearest coffee shop. They actually had to look at a map... how ancient is that?! Even if they were afraid to be in a new country without anything familiar around them, it didn't stop them from trying. They learned the language, they looked for work, they made new friends and they didn't let uncertainty stop them.
I'm not a huge movie fan, but there is one that I could replay in my head over and over and it always puts a smile on my face. Based on a true story about a boy with a dream, Eddie the Eagle was the unexpected hero of the 1988 Olympics. Nobody believed in him. From an early age, he dreamed of being in the Olympics but everything about him was the complete opposite of Olympic material. He never made it as a downhill skier so he decide to go for ski jumping instead. He wore heavy prescription glasses under his ski goggles and he would practice with the only pair of boots he could find, several sizes to large for him under which he would layer with 6 pairs of socks just so they could fit. Where other ski jumpers around him had been practicing the the sport since the age of 3, Eddie, had only been ski jumping for 2 years before he made it to the 1988 Olympics. The most amazing part is that he was self taught. Your'e probably wondering, well, how did he make it to the Olympics if he was so bad at it? There was nobody representing Britain at the time so he had a fair chance just as anyone else who had the courage to try! When he finally competed in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, he won! He won LAST place and the world absolutely LOVED him for it. The world loved him because he proved that winning was so much more than getting first place. He showed the world that winning simply meant trying your best, despite what others thought of you. Trying your best, despite the fear of the unknown. And trying your best simply because that's what we are meant to do.
Eddie the Eagle is such an uplifting story because he is a simple person just like all of us. It's so easy to look at the world today and see perfect social media feeds, moms who just had babies and already taking glamorous 'after' photos, television and reality TV shows where it all seems too lovely. The truth in all of that is...these are just stories from a small fraction of what actually happens in a day of real life. It's never all perfect, and even when it looks that way, the person who got there probably had a lot of challenges along the way. Eddie had so many challenges along the way to becoming an Olympic athlete. His dream came true but it didn't come easy, and sometimes that is the biggest obstacle in front of our eyes...accepting the challenge along the way. Eddie became the unexpected hero because he faced rejection on every bend and overcame it and that is something that is so hard to do. The world saw something in him that they also saw in themselves!
No matter what we are doing in life, raising a family, learning a new instrument, starting a small business, writing a book...imagine your end goal but remember Eddie the Eagle. He is known and loved by the world for winning LAST place but more simply, for accepting his challenges along the way and always believing in himself. He is loved by the world for not comparing himself to others but for believing that he could do anything he set his own heart to. If you are looking for a good movie tonight that will probably make you cry and inspire you to soar, watch 'Eddie the Eagle' and dream big!