Raj Dua
2 May 2018

Cool Runnings: Remaining True To Yourself

Cool Runnings is a movie that was ahead of its time. Released in 1993, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that it really stepped up to challenge the norms of both cultural and individual identity. Based on a true story, we are taken on a journey that illustrates the consequences of having your sense of identity grounded in your circumstances, achievements and ability, rather than in who you are. The premise is this - 3 Jamaican sprinters destined for Gold at the Olympic Games have their dreams crushed as a qualifying race doesn’t quite go their way. The resulting pivot is that they find a washed-up bobsled coach to create the first ever Jamaican bobsled team, with sights set on the Olympic winter games.

As they reach Calgary for the championship, these guys are instantly treated as the outsiders and are actively made to feel this way.  Without a shred of inner-confidence, the band of Jamaicans look to the top performing team at the games - the Swiss. They decide that the surefire way to the top is to copy everything that the Swiss do - wearing the same clothes, singing the same chants, training in the same way - all resulting in a burnt out Jamaican with no hope of progressing. We then see in the clip below, Sanka - one of the team, telling his team captain that their only hope to get anywhere lies in a change of thinking - or as I like to see it, a Metanoia.

Metanoeo (verb) / Metanoia (noun) in Ancient Greek - refers to a fundamental shift in thinking that we see many times in the Bible. Mark 1:15 on the surface reads as “repent, and believe the Gospel”, but repent is translated directly from the Greek ‘Metanoeo’, which results in Mark 1:15 reading as “Change your thinking and believe the Gospel” - which is a much broader statement than our own definition of repenting - ‘turning away from sin’. So Sanka, by saying how the team needs to act, walk and talk Jamaican, is fundamentally shifting Derrice’s thinking of his own identity and the team’s identity.

Fast forward to the next day, the Jamaicans arrive to the final day of racing with their heads held high, proud simply because they are representing their country. They end up setting a new track record that very same day, the Swiss came second. So be encouraged - whilst it is great to stand on the shoulders of giants, let us never forget the gifts imparted so freely into each of us by God. Simply put, who can be a better version of you than... you?

Raj Dua

Chertsey Hub Leader - Revolution Youth