Running Brave Essay

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  • RUNNING BRAVE!!

    The True story of Billy Mills

    RUNNING BRAVE This is one of the GREATEST movies ever made. If you can, do yourself a favor and purchase it from: indianyouth.org It is full of lesson for life we need to see and understand. It will inspire you, thrill you, and just leave you with joy and just a good feeling, a positive feeling, an inspirational feeling to fight the good fight in our Christian race whatever length of distance we are given to run. Tara, my co-worker in the Lord, gives you a great picture of this movie and the lessons it teaches us. If you are going to buy this movie (and I know of no place except indianyouth.org that you can buy it) READ NO FURTHER until AFTER you watch the movie. BUY IT!! YOU WILL NEVER BE SORRY YOU DID!! Keith Hunt (December 2008) RUNNING BRAVE - THE OVERALL PICTURE AND LESSONS FOR EACH OF US by Tara Chapman I watched an awesome movie this week, "Running Brave." Actually, I watched it twice. A close brother in Christ and co-worker, Keith, gave it to me as a gift and told me to teach my son the lessons I found therein. (Thank you again.) Following is a report on the movie (if you plan to see it, you might not want to read this until afterward, but if not, read on): Billy Mills won the 10,000 meter Olympic track race in 1964 at Tokyo, taking home the gold medal for the United States, and is the only American who has won a gold medal in that race. But, what is greater than that is that Billy Mills is half Sioux Indian (Native American). Billy grew up in poverty on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. His mother (white) died when he was nine, and his dad died when Billy was twelve. When he had asked his dad whether he liked to fight (his dad boxed), he responded to Billy, "I like to win," and that a person needs to find something at which they can win, "You have to win at something." Billy loved to run. He ran all the time and felt as if he was one with everything when he ran. He attended high school in Kansas in the 1950s and broke several track records. The track coach of Kansas University went to see him, but when he found out he was an Indian, he complained to the high school coach and said that Indian boys had a natural talent of running well but that they were quitters and drunks. He'd seen it all before. Billy walked up and defended himself, making it clear that he was no quitter and wanted to run for him at KU. He ended up getting the scholarship to go to KU. He was only the second one from the reservation to ever get a scholarship to college, but the first guy quit after just three weeks. Billy was scared to go to the university, but at the same time he wanted to "prove I can make it in the white world." When he got to the university the coach emphasized to the guys from the very start that they were to do it his way and his way only. The coach pushed Billy, and Billy started out winning all the races. He also did the right thing by passing up offers of alcohol from his college pals. He probably realized that he had a predisposition to alcoholism, because he was Indian, and he didn't want to become a drunk. He met a girl, too--Pat--and started seeing her. It wasn't all cherries and honeycomb, though. Billy constantly had people calling him "chief," "that Indian boy," and other racial slurs. He also was not allowed to become a member of a fraternity, because he was Indian. At one point he attacked a fellow teammate after a race, after the guy made a nasty remark. The coach pulled him back and sternly told him to ignore the comments and that he could run all over that guy. Billy would write letters to his sister, and they would start out sounding discouraging, because he saw everything was such a challenge. He had to study so hard and so late and he was the only Indian on campus, except for one girl, "but she's fat" he wrote home. He'd always say at the end of his letters, though, "Don't worry," because he was going to be okay and make everyone proud of him. He would list the problems, but each time he seemed intent on overcoming them. During one race, Billy slowed down toward the end, even though he still won the race. There was another Indian on the other team. The coach confronted him later about it and rightly accused him of doing so as not to embarrass the other Indian so badly, who was next behind him. Paraphrasing, "You're never going to get to the Olympics, if you don't quit easing up at the end. Don't feel sorry for the other Indian. Next time, you don't see him as an Indian. You see him as another competitor." [Going to the Olympics was Billy's dream.] His coach seemed to only want to rack up points, and he gave promises to people that he'd make it to the nationals. Billy had an enormous amount of pressure on him, and he felt as if the coach didn't seem to care about Billy but only about himself and his coaching career, and racking up "points" to be the champions. He wrote to his sister that he'd lost his love for running and he felt like just a machine, but he said once again, "Don't worry," because he had support from his girlfriend Pat, and he was confident he'd "find that spirit again." He was placed at number five in the NCAA, and a reporter asked him whether being number five had anything to do with being Indian (the gall). He cleverly answered, "I'm half-white, too. I'm not sure which half loses. Do you?" His girlfriend Pat's parents were not happy when she told them that she was with Billy, because, as she put it, "Maybe they are a little bit prejudiced." He said, "What the hell do you know about prejudice? They are bigots" So, she informed him that she (a middle class white girl) was what he wanted, so he had to deal with the problems that came with her, even prejudiced parents. So, he did. He wrote and told his sister that he and Pat were thinking of getting married and expressed disappointment that she was not going to be able to go visit him with his other family and friends, including Frank who'd gone to live with Billy and his dad after Frank's own parents had died, and who finished rearing Billy after his dad died; and Eddie his friend with a bad attitude. Billy was staying at Pat's house while her parents were gone, and when his visitors arrived, they were initially excited to see him, but things quickly turned around. Eddie acted very angry and made rude comments about the nice house and how he just wanted to go have some fun. He and the two women left after ten minutes and talked Frank into leaving, too. Billy tried talking Frank into staying, and he pushed Eddie and told him to leave. Frank stopped them from fighting, and Eddie said, "That's okay. It's not the first time I've been pushed around by a white man." Eddie and the two girls acted as if they didn't want Billy to improve his life, and they said they didn't belong there and left. Frank, too, finally said to Billy that they were probably right, that they didn't belong there. Following THIS is when Billy started messing up. He came in 3rd place in his next race and then went on to lose the following two races. His coach told him after the first race, "You quit." After one or two more, he said, "You're quitting. You already have." He told Pat that during the whole time he'd been at KU, that whenever bad things happened that made him question why he was there, he'd always been lifted up by knowing he was there because he "won races." He said, "But, now I'm not," so he wondered why he was there and started thinking about going back to the reservation. Then the guy with the insurance company that sponsored his scholarship got on to him and said that he'd better win the next race or he'd risk losing his scholarship. He then asked Pat to run away with him, even if it meant they might live in a trailer park somewhere and scraping to get by. He was sick of being Billy the runner and Billy the Indian. He didn't really know who he was. He was looked down upon among the whites, because he was Indian, and he was rejected by his own family and friends for being like the whites. When Pat shook her head and told him she didn't understand, he drove off, and he ended up going back to the Indian reservation. He told the coach right before a track meet that he was doing what the coach had always said he'd do--quit. Coach Easton told Billy he'd never be a winner, and he knew it. He claimed that's why he always told him to stay running in front (Billy had liked "coming from behind" and once told Easton he wanted him to see his "kick" to which Easton replied, "You don't have a kick son, you run they way I say, out in front."). Back on the reservation some children recognized him as the famous Billy Mills. A little boy had his sports card with his picture. He asked Billy whether he was going to the Olympics and that, "You'd better." His friend Eddie acted glad to see him and welcomed him back home, now that he was away from white land. But, Eddie still had a bad attitude. He wasn't what I'd call the optimal friend. Frank was drunk when Billy saw him. Frank pretty much stayed drunk. While the two were fishing, Frank told Billy that Frank's dad had always told Frank he'd never go anywhere. Frank had always wanted to go to Paris, because he was a really good artist, but he listened to the, "You'll never go anywhere or be anybody" talk, and he said it now was too late for him. He told Billy that it wasn't too late for him and that he needed to leave. I think being at the reservation again with drunk Frank and bad attitude Eddie got him to having second thoughts about his choice to go back there. Plus, he missed Pat. It did feel good, though, to be "home" and run again. He got his love of running back. His sister had saved back newspaper articles and other mementos in a scrapbook and showed Billy. She asked whether he was going to the Olympics and said that everyone on the reservation had always wanted someone to be something, to make something of him or herself. Following that he got a note and money from Pat telling him to come back. He then found Frank dead from a suicidal gunshot wound to the head, surrounded by demented drawings of a depressed soul on the walls. So, Billy left the reservation again and went to the Marines. He already had his degree, and the Marines gave him a chance to focus on running so that he could go try out for the Olympics. He married Pat and then qualified in the Olympic trials. He and two other Americans were there to represent the US. He was not considered as a potential winner. One of the other Americans had a hurt foot or leg, and the American coach talked to that guy as if he was their chance to win and just told Billy to "hang in there." The commentators said also that Billy wasn't "seen as a threat" in the event. Ron Clarke from Australia was everyone's favorite. Clarke is noted for setting 17 world records (but never won an Olympic gold medal). He'd set records during the time Billy was in KU, and Coach Easton had posted a newspaper picture of Clarke and told the guys to aspire to Clarke's achievements. During the 10,000 meter race (over six miles), Billy kept near the front, along with Clarke and Mohammad Gammoudi of Tunisia. They all kept switching positions for first place. It was a very exciting race, since everyone was surprised that Billy was among the front-runners. During the last lap: "Mills and Clarke were running together with Gammoudi right behind as they entered the final lap. They were lapping other runners and, down the backstretch, Clarke was boxed in. He pushed Mills once, then again. Then Gammoudi pushed them both and surged into the lead as they rounded the final curve. Clarke recovered and began chasing Gammoudi while Mills appeared to be too far back to be in contention. Clarke failed to catch Gammoudi ...... but Mills sprinted past them both. His winning time of 28:24.4 was almost 50 seconds faster than he had ever run before and set a new Olympic record for the event. No American had ever won the 10,000 m before Billy Mills did it" (Wikipedia, s.v. "Billy Mills"). Coach Easton had seen the news in the paper that Billy was going to the Olympics that year, and he went to Tokyo to see him. He walked up to Billy after the race to congratulate him, and he said, "Well ... I guess you do have a kick. That's the greatest race I ever saw a man run. I'm honored to have worked with you son. God bless you Billy." Running Brave detailed a fine based-on-a-true-story example of a man who overcame his hardships and poor circumstances and became a winner. It also demonstrated that even after a person is "in the race," heading for his or her goals and doing a fine job of dealing with trials that could knock a person "out of the race," it can take just one event that deals a hard enough blow to cause a person to want to give up. Very often, it involves a person or persons very close to us--family and/or close friends. In Billy's case, he kept overcoming his trials--the racial slurs, the exclusion in clubs, his coach's selfishness--until his family and friends rejected him. Perhaps without realizing it, they were trying to bring him back down to their level. A Christian Race God's election race for his called and chosen ones is the same way. We can't let anything stop us. The Apostle Paul said: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly, so fight 1, not as one that beateth the air. But 1 keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Family and Friends We must overcome whatever trials come our way and overcome the sins that we inherited from our families, tribes, and nations. We must run the race as if there's only one winner. If we fail, we will be a castaway. Some of us will sometimes take a really hard blow that will appear to keep us down for good, but if the goal is really that important to us, we will get back up and get back in the race. That is what Billy did. His family and friends made him feel bad. They were supposed to be those closest to him, and yet they were the ones responsible for discouraging him to the point where he nearly failed. He started to give up. He went back to his old life. BUT, the game wasn't over yet. He decided to get back up again and do what it took for him to reach his goal (going to the Olympics), and he didn't stop there. He won that 10,000 meter race and won the Olympic gold medal for the US. It's too often in the lives of those who "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev.12:17) that family and friends are their biggest obstacle. It's what holds them back the most. Jesus said, "if any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple... whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26,33). Billy's coach told him that was the best race he'd ever seen a man run and that he was honored to have worked with him. How would each of us like to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matt. 25:23)?" Gentile vs. White Being a Gentile among Israelites is also an obstacle for many people. Billy Mills was half Gentile living in a "white [Israelite] world." He overcame many of the gentile ways to better himself. We just had a half gentile, half white man elected to be the next president of the US. The majority of blacks and other minority gentile races in our nation do not really want to overcome their gentile ways. They expect to be treated equally without conforming to our ways. God's law records over and over that within an Israelite nation that claims to be under God, that there is ONE LAW for both Israelite and Gentile--the same law applies to both. He also said: "Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to Jehovah, to serve him, and to love the name of Jehovah, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant, Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar, for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord Jehovah which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will l gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him "(Isaiah 56:6-8). ALL people, whether Israelite or Gentile are offered salvation, and MANY Gentiles have been called in this lifetime to see the truth since Christ's death, whereas before his death few Gentiles took hold upon God's covenant. We live in a time where the Gentile minorities basically think the white people owe them something, all the while they as a whole are still living in their vile ways. It has become so bad that more whites are acting more like gentiles than whites. Our president-elect is another example of a gentile (half) conforming to the white's ways so that he could become something and live decently (howbeit not God's way, but the majority of the white population isn't living that way, either). The small percentage of people in minorities, such as Billy Mills and president-elect Barack Obama have had to fight a tough battle, because they are still looked down upon by whites (shame on those whites who do this), but their own peoples hate them for acting white. There are those who will even KILL a "rebel," because they aspire to live to white standards. Those like Billy Mills, because what his father taught him, realize WHY the whites are so blessed, and he decided to overcome that. Then there are those like his friend Eddie who want to just talk badly about white people while continuing to make the wrong choices. Likewise, there are blacks (President-elect Obama is half black) who spew hatred toward white middle class America, expecting equality while they deal drugs, don't attempt to talk properly, spew forth profanity, walk like they broke one of their legs, rape women, rap immoral trash, and shoot people. They just don't seem to get it! But, in nearly every family, tribe, and nation, there are the FEW who do recognize the problems in their families, and they strive to overcome. And good for them! On the other side of the coin, you have some whites who live more like gentiles, and so that's how they act and decide to live. Some people have no drive, no desire to do the best they can in their circumstances. God wants ALL people to be free and equal, but only if they live according to His way. (The Western World's high standard of living, or at least what we did once had--hygiene, generosity, good agriculture, good health, family values, etc.--is based on the laws in the bible, whether anyone realizes it or not. We are failing, though, as this once-Godly nation is falling away and doing away with his laws more and more every day.) I give a two thumbs up for Billy Mills and also for the makers of Running Brave. Billy Mills given Lakota (Sioux) name is "Makata Taka Hela" which means "love your country" or more traditionally translated, "respects the earth" (RunningPast. com). Billy Mills has lived up to his name. Quote from Billy: "My life is a gift to me from my Creator. What I do with my life is my gift back to the Creator." And so it is for all of us. Billy is now a public speaker, and he also is the spokesman for the nonprofit Running Strong for American Indian Youth. The website is here: http://www.indianyouth.org/ ................... NOTE: I CANNOT SAY TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS MOVIE AND THE MAN BILLY MILLS. A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF OVERCOMING MANY WRONGS, EVILS, AND SINS, AND PICKING YOURSELF UP AND PUSHING ONWARD, WITH WHATEVER GOD HAS GIVEN YOU TO PUSH ONWARD WITH. NOT EVERYONE CAN WIN THE 10,000 M IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES. IT'S MORE THAN INTERESTING THAT BILLY WAS TOLD AFTER THE RACE, THAT HIS BAND OF BROTHERS ON THE INDIAN RESERVATION, PRAYED FOR HIM BEFORE THE RACE, ***NOT*** THAT HE WOULD ***WIN*** BUT THAT HE WOULD RUN WITH HONOR, DIGNITY AND BE A FINE REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE AMERICAN INDIAN PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. IN THE CHRISTIAN RACE WE ARE ALL MEANT TO BE ***WINNERS*** WE WERE ALL BORN TO WIN!! YES WE WERE!! YES ***YOU*** WERE BORN TO WIN THE CHRISTIAN FIGHT. YOU HAVE THE ***GREATEST COACH*** IN THE UNIVERSE AND HE WANTS EVERYONE HE TRAINS TO BE A WINNER!!! BUY THE MOVIE "RUNNING BRAVE" AND BE INSPIRED TO WIN!!! Keith Hunt

     


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