A few weeks ago, I attended the premiere of the award winning documentary, The Renegades: A Beep ball Story. It was a wonderful event that showcased the athletic talents of blind people, and it was a special moment for me. The 200 people in attendance seemed inspired by this film: they laughed; they cried; and they saw what was possible when a community comes together to provide support and opportunity.
As a fundraiser, you always hope your events will inspire people to take action. You hope that they believe in the great cause you believe in. This event was a little different for me. I did want people to be inspired and I did want them to take action. I wanted attitudes about blind people to change if they needed to be changed. But I also had a very personal tie to how the evening went because I was the subject of the documentary. For a lot of my colleagues and friends, they were seeing me in a new way and in a different uniform. No dress shoes, cleats instead. No button down shirt, a jersey, batting gloves and a blindfold instead.
Wanting to play little league baseball when I was a kid was something that drove me to play baseball for the blind. When I was asked to participate in the documentary, I just had one desire – that was to have people say, Joe Q can play! He can hit! He is good! The child in me still lives, I guess.
The other aspect of this documentary that was different for me was that Jack and Liz, the film makers of Best Dog Ever Films, are also good friends and have been supportive of me since my days at Boston College. I take great pride in our friendship and their talents. To take 120 hours of footage and make it into 1 hour and 14 minute story is impressive. To also portray us as who we are, and still make the story interesting is remarkable.
The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story is a fantastic film that can inspire in many ways. It can inspire us to take chances and be active as blind people, to stand up for people, to volunteer and make a difference in people’s lives, and to be creative and use our talents to help others! Stay tuned for when it comes out in DVD and let me know if this film inspires you. To Jack and Liz, our volunteer coaches on the Renegades, our supporters, and my colleagues at NBP, your support inspires me!