Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Hammer

Directed by Oren Kaplan, this docudrama depicts the life of Matt Hamill, the first deaf wrestler to win the National Collegiate Championship. He grows up in a hearing world and navigates the challenges to achieve his dream of being the best. This true story has a profound lesson in true communication. With those who are deaf, often people focus on their mode of communicating rather than their content, as Shoshannah Stern who plays Kristi, Matt's girlfriend, in the film says. In the film, Matt grows up learning to speak English instead of Sign. He struggles with communicating when he goes to Rochester Institute of Technology for wrestling where there is a deaf campus and a large student body who speak Sign. Matt eventually grasps this new language and realizes that there is more to communicating than speaking. The transformation in Matt focuses him on being less centered on himself and becoming more other-centered. This is a film about Matt's search for himself.

Matt has a deep and profound relationship with his grandfather with whom he lived growing up. His grandfather did not want to admit that his grandson was different and so taught him to speak and sent him to regular schools while refusing Matt's mother's request to send him to school to learn Sign. He was also Matt's best fan for his wrestling and encouraged him to follow his dream. On his deathbed, he surprised Matt by Signing some phrases and telling him how much he loved Matt. He finally said that Matt is different and that's a wonderful thing. His acceptance meant the world to Matt.

We all have various strengths and weaknesses. We all have struggles in life and must search to find who we really are within this larger universe. God makes each of us unique and special in our own way. We are all called to greatness--the greatness of giving of ourselves in love to others. As Paul says, "Love never ends...." 1 Cor. 13:8.

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